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URI Comes Back to Beat St. Bonaventure 87-78

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Xavier Munford scored 21 of his 32 points in the second half, E.C. Matthews added 24 points, and URI returned to the win column Saturday afternoon with an 87-78 road win over St. Bonaventure.

The win snapped a 6 game losing streak for URI. It was also the first road win in conference play for the Rams.

URI didn’t take their first lead until E.C. Matthews made a nifty runner midway through the first half to put the rams up 18-16. Xavier Munford followed that up with a 3 pointer to extend the lead to 5 and cap a 14-2 URI run in the process.

It was all downhill from there in the first half. Foul trouble inside plagued the Rams all half, with Hassan Martin and Ifeanyi Onyekaba picking up 3 apiece and Gilvydas Biruta committing 2 fouls of his own. The Bonnies outscored the Rams 27-12 after the Munford 3 and took a 10 point lead into halftime.

For the half, SBU shot an incredible 94% (16-17) from the free throw line, punishing the Rams for all their fouls. Despite URI outrebounding SBU 18-12, the Rams went into the break with their options looking bleak.

The second half was a different story, with the senior Munford taking over the game and bringing Rhody back almost single-handedly. Munford keyed a hot 19-8 start for URI that saw them regain the lead at 52-51.

The teams battled back and forth the rest of the way, with Munford and Matthews shouldering the scoring load for the Rams and helping them survive despite the lack of inside options.

A 3 pointer from Matthews gave URI a 71-68 lead with 3 minutes to go. Dion Wright made a free throw on the other end for the Bonnies, and Hassan Martin fouled out in the process.

Matthews got to the line on the ensuing Rams’ possession and sank both free throws to extend the lead to 4. Youssou Ndoye missed the front end of a 1-and-1 for the Bonnies, and Jarelle Reischel extended the lead to 5 on the other end with a free throw of his own.

Charlon Kloof got to the rim and converted the layup with 2 minutes to go, bringing the Bonnies within 3 points. Biruta’s offensive rebound and put-back And-1 hook shot extended the lead to 6, the largest of the game for the Rams.

Ndoye scored on the other end for SBU, cutting the lead to 77-73 with 1 minute to play. It was at that point that URI’s ability to close games out would be tested again, and on Saturday the Rams answered the bell.

MunfordMatthews, Onyekaba, and Biruta combined to make 10 free throws on intentional fouls, and Rhody earned some defensive stops en route to closing out the 87-78 victory.

Ndoye led the Bonnies with 21 points and Matthew Wright added 20 in the losing effort. SBU falls to 16-11 overall and 6-7 in the Atlantic 10.

URI moves to 3-10 in conference play and 12-16 overall this season. The Rams next play Wednesday night at UMass, and return home on Saturday to take on Richmond.


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Kudos to Coach Hurley for pulling out the win. I didn't think he had it in him. However, his 8-21 record last year, coupled with his 12-16 record to date is not good enough by my standards. Of the 3 remaining games, UMASS, Richmond and Fordham, I see one more possible win, Fordham, but as we all know the Rams were drubbed earlier in the season by that same lowly team. So a best case scenario would have them finishing at 13-18, which again is not good enough.It's time the athletic department to bid adieu to Coach Hurley. He tried but 21-39 after two years simply isn't good enough. More importantly this year marks 15, yes 15, years of not attaining an NCAA tournament. I do not see that changing with coach Hurley at the helm. Good luck in the future but its time to move on now. Let the search for the new coach begin.

Comment #1 by joe adamowicz on 2014 02 23


Are you kidding me? After what he was handed from Baron, Hurley is doing well rebuilding this team. We have two great freshman, some of the best in the A-10. Add a little more depth and this team is going to do real well the next few years. Your standards are unrealistic. Many analysts see this team as one to watch next year. That will be the year that Coach Hurley will be judged for a turn around.

Comment #2 by Kendrick Jones on 2014 02 23

Don't bother with Adamowicz. Read his comments on previous URI material. He's the classic internet troll. And he's actually taken his act to a new venue -- he was Ramhead on the old Projo board.

Comment #3 by Carver Hawkeye on 2014 02 23

In his two years at Canisius coach Baron won twenty games last year (20-14) and is presently at 19-10. In his two years at URI coach Hurley won 8 games last year and has 12 victories this year ( he may beat Fordham for 13).
Canisius stands a good chance to make the NCAA and has a star player in Billy Baron.
URI is going nowhere, no A-10 tournament and of course no NCAA tournament for the 15th straight year.
NOW I ask you, which coach do you prefer? It's too late to bring back Baron and Bobby got away..so but let's start the search for a new head man .. NOW. This glorified high school mentor has had his chance. Back to NJ with him.

Comment #4 by joe adamowicz on 2014 02 23

'More importantly this year marks 15, yes 15, years of not attaining an NCAA tournament.'

-- Joe Adamowicz, Feb. 23

Jim Baron was responsible for 11 of those years. To advocate for his return while citing an extended period of failure for which he was chiefly responsible is to exhibit a complete and total lack of cognitive reasoning.

Comment #5 by Carver Hawkeye on 2014 02 23

The Metro Atlantic is not the same caliber as the A10. You can't compare the two. I'm glad Billy is having a good year there because he was pathetic at his last two schools. I'll take EC over Billy anyday of the week. I also stick with Hurley who is a huge improvement over Baron.

Comment #6 by Kendrick Jones on 2014 02 23

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