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.
Munford, Matthews, 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.