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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 15, 12 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ryan Center (7,657) -- Kingston, Rhode Island. Television: OSN. Home Record: Duquesne 6-7, URI 9-4. Away Record: Duquesne 4-5, URI 2-10. Neutral Record: Duquesne 0-1, URI 0-0. Conference Record: Duquesne 2-8, URI 2-8. Series Record: URI leads, 29-24.
GAME NOTES: Atlantic 10 Conference foes collide at the Ryan Center, as the Rhode Island Rams play host to the Duquesne Dukes.
Both teams remain winless in the month of February, and Duquesne enters this contest with losses in four straight and eight of its last 10 overall. The Dukes fell at home to Richmond on Wednesday night, 75-58. Beginning here, they'll play three of their next four games on the road.
Rhode Island is also in the midst of a four-game skid since the beginning of the month. Most recently, the Rams suffered a 76-69 setback at Dayton on Wednesday. Following this tilt, they'll remain on campus to face Saint Joseph's in four days.
URI has won 16 of the last 21 head-to-head meetings with Duquesne and holds a 29-24 edge in the all-time series.
The Dukes never led in Wednesday's matchup with Richmond as they gave up seven first-half 3-pointers. In fact, they committed four turnovers in the first six minutes, while the Spiders got hot from long range and sprinted out to a 17-3 lead. Duquesne forward Ovie Soko finished with a game-high 21 points and nine rebounds, but the Dukes shot just 38.6 percent from the floor as a team and made only 6-of-23 attempts from beyond the arc (.261). Micah Mason joined Soko in double figures with 15 points to go along with six assists. Soko has been the team's primary scoring threat throughout the season as he averages 18.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Mason (10.3 ppg) continues to lead the nation -- by a wide margin -- in 3-point field-goal percentage (.583) and is good for nearly three triples per game.
Rhode Island's top outside shooting option is leading scorer Xavier Munford (16.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg), although he is converting a rather pedestrian 31-percent of his 3-point attempts. However, the Rams have defended the perimeter well, as opponents are have been held to 29-percent shooting from beyond the arc. E.C. Matthews (12.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg), the league's leading rookie of the year candidate, and Gilvydas Biruta (10.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg), round out the URI's double-digit scorers. Matthews had a game-high 22 points against Dayton earlier this week, while Hassan Martin and Munford also reached double figures with 14 and 12 points, respectively. The Rams shot a healthy 52 percent from the floor as a team in that game, but they were unable to overcome 18 turnovers and lost for the first time in eight meetings against the Flyers.
URI can match up Biruta on Soko and rely on its strong team perimeter defense to keep Mason from getting hot beyond the arc. Still, the Rams can ill-afford to be careless with the basketball again and still expect to emerge victorious.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rhode Island 69, Duquesne 65
02/15 10:16:25 ET
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