Rhode Island (5-22) at St. Bonaventure (13-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 18th, 4:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reilly Center (5,480) -- Olean, New York. Television: None. Home Record: URI 2-11, SBU 9-2. Away Record: URI 2-11, SBU 4-8. Neutral Record: URI 1-0, SBU 0-1. Conference Record: URI 2-10, SBU 6-5. Series Record: Rhode Island leads, 35-25.
GAME NOTES: The Rhode Island Rams will try to climb out of the cellar in the Atlantic 10 Conference, as they travel to Olean, New York to take on the St. Bonaventure Bonnies at the Reilly Center.
The sooner Rhode Island can get past these final few weeks of the season and start looking forward to next year, the better. The Rams have won just five of their 27 games thus far and they sit in last place in the A-10 standings with a 2-10 conference record. The Rams are currently losers of four straight, with their latest defeat coming against Saint Joseph's on Wednesday, 80-69.
St. Bonaventure has enjoyed moderate success this season, owning a 13-10 record overall and the team is stuck in the middle of the pack in the A-10 standings with a 6-5 mark. After winning three straight to close out the month of January, the Bonnies have slipped a bit here in February, losing three of four, including a 76-70 decision on Wednesday to first-place Temple, just the Bonnies' second home loss of the season.
Rhode Island holds a 35-25 advantage in the all-time series with St. Bonaventure, though the Bonnies have won three of the last four meetings, including a 72-66 verdict in overtime in the first matchup this season on January 25.
Though Rhode Island puts up a respectable 68.1 ppg, in a conference filled with high-powered offenses it only ranks 11th out of 14 teams. It also connects on just 40 percent of its field goal attempts and 27.9 percent of its three-point tries, both of which rank at or near the bottom of the league rankings. The Rams also have the worst defense in the league, yielding 75.9 ppg on 48.9 percent field goal efficiency. Those trends continued on Wednesday as the Rams gave up 55.8 percent shooting to Saint Joseph's while they made only 40.6 percent of their total shots. Orion Outerbridge continued his solid play this season with 19 points and he now averages 12.2 ppg on the year. URI recently welcomed Billy Baron (14.1 ppg) and Nikola Malesevic (11.7 ppg) back from injury and while their returns have improved the offense, it has not resulted in more wins. Jonathon Holton adds 10.3 ppg to the mix and is second in the conference in rebounding (7.9 rpg).
St. Bonaventure's strength lies in its ability to play solid defense, as the team allows an average of just 63.8 ppg, second-best in the conference. It had its hands full with the high-flying Temple Owls on Wednesday however, and even though it held them to 43.4 percent shooting, the visitors converted 25-of-29 free-throws to take down the Bonnies on their home floor. One week after earning the A-10 Co-Player of the Week award, Andrew Nicholson followed it up with a 19-point performance in the loss. Nicholson ranks seventh in the conference in scoring (15.8 ppg) and fifth in rebounding (7.7 rpg), but he has been especially impressive of late, tallying 21.3 ppg, 12.3 rpg and 3.0 blocks per game the last three times out. Demitirius Conger in the only other Bonnie to average in double figures, chipping in 11.7 ppg while grabbing 5.6 rpg. Both Nicholson and Conger shoot better than 51 percent from the floor. SBU is the A-10's best team on the boards, sporting a rebounding margin of +4.7.
St. Bonaventure will try to avenge the tough loss to Temple, and manning its home court against the conference's worst team is a great way to do it.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: St. Bonaventure 72, Rhode Island 60
02/18 10:43:39 ET