The URI Rams hit the Ryan Center floor again on Thursday, taking on the MAAC’s Iona Gaels at 7:00pm. The game can be seen on Yurview Channel 4 or 1004 for customers of Cox Communications.
Call it a Comeback
Dan Hurley’s team is coming off a 68-62 win over College of Charleston, using all forty minutes to get the job done. It was the return of E.C. Matthews, and he should be more comfortable in his second game back from a left wrist injury. He shot 1 for 5 in only ten minutes of action, but Hurley said he’s hoping to give his best scorer twenty minutes against Iona.
#URI coach Dan Hurley said he hopes to have E.C. Matthews play up to 20 minutes Thursday against Iona. Ryan Preston (triceps) practiced in full today and is questionable. #Rams
— Bill Koch (@BillKoch25) December 19, 2017
Undoubtedly, Rhody would like to get Matthews back to his normal workload for the beginning of conference play, which begins on December 30th vs George Mason. With two critical nonconference home games before then, the path is clear for the Rams to achieve that goal.
Who Likes Guard Play?
Much has been made of the lineups URI has thrown out there this season, especially during Matthews’ absence over much of the season’s first six weeks. With great guard depth, they’ve played plenty of small ball with the likes of Jared Terrell, Jeff Dowtin, Stanford Robinson, Jarvis Garrett and Freshman Fatts Russell. In facing the Gaels, the Rams face another team that likes to go small, spreading the floor with plenty of three-point firepower. On Tuesday against Holy Cross, Iona drilled 20 three-pointers en route to an 82-68 win.
Schadrac Casimir earns tonight’s #BigTimePerformer for @IonaGaelsMBB behind a season-high 22 points on 6-9 3FGs #GaelNation #ICMBB #MAACHoops pic.twitter.com/p2lPcQr4Qg
— Iona Athletics (@ICGaels) December 20, 2017
The Rams, under Hurley, have thrived on the defensive end of the floor. Adam Finkelstein, who has called multiple Iona games this season, sees advantages for the Rhody defense.
“Iona is especially dangerous because they can get hot at virtually anytime,” said Finkelstein. “Where Rhode Island will have an advantage is on the defensive end of the floor, specifically with their strength and physicality.”
With a number of ball-hawking, physical guards, Hurley has a chance to match the personnel Tim Cluess uses throughout the game. Forward Cyril Langevine, looking healthy with a double-double against Charleston, gives the Rams another layer defensively to hold up against the Iona attack.
Watch Iona vs the URI Rams on Yurview New England, Channel 4 or 1004, at 7:00pm on Thursday December 21st.