Brown (4-7) at Rhode Island (4-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, January 4, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ryan Center (7,657) -- Kingston, Rhode Island. Television: OSN. Home Record: Brown 2-2, URI 3-3. Away Record: Brown 2-5, URI 1-3. Neutral Record: Brown 0-0, URI 0-2. Conference Record: Brown 0-0, Canisius 0-0. Series Record: Rhode Island leads, 100-53.
GAMES NOTES: In a battle between two teams from the Ocean State, the Brown Bears have come to Kingston to challenge the Rhode Island Rams.
This is the finale of a brief two-game road trip for Brown, which lost to Albany, 57-50, in its most recent outing. That was the fourth setback in the last five games for the Bears, who are now 4-7 this season. The majority of the campaign has been spent on the road where the Bears are just 2-5. Next up for Brown is a return home to face Niagara.
Rhode Island also took a loss on the road in its most recent outing, although in much-less competitive fashion as the Rams were routed in an 82-59 final by Saint Mary's-CA. The loss came on the heels of back-to-back wins for the Rams, who have struggled in non-conference play at just 4-8 overall. URI will begin its Atlantic 10 Conference slate next week at Richmond.
This intrastate battle has been going on for quite awhile as this is the 154th meeting between the squads. Rhode Island had its nine-game win streak in the series snapped last season, but still leads all-time by a 100-53 margin.
Points from the free throw line were the difference in Brown's recent loss to Albany, as the Bears were outscored 20-7 from the charity stripe in a game that was decided by just seven points. That discrepancy erased Brown's advantages from beyond the arc (15-9) and overall shooting, as the Bears hit 37.3 percent of their field goal attempts compared to just 32.7 percent by the Great Danes.
The competition has largely kept the Bears in check this season, as they are scoring only 60.8 ppg and connecting on 39.7 percent of their total shots. Even in the slower-paced Ivy League those numbers still rank near the bottom of the standings. Brown does compare favorably on the boards (35.3 pg) where it ranks second in the conference. The team doesn't have a ton of depth, as only nine players have seen court time this season. Only the five starters have played more than 20 minutes per game, with Matt Sullivan (14.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Sean McGonagill (14.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg) each averaging more than 35. Tucker Halpern (11.6 ppg) and Rafael Maia (10.9 ppg, 8.2 rpg) are also scoring in double figures.
Rhode Island was thoroughly outplayed by Saint Mary's, especially on the interior as the Rams logged just 17 total rebounds compared to 42 by the Gaels. In fact, SMC had nearly as many offensive rebounds (14) as URI had total boards. That led to a 12-2 discrepancy in second-chance points.
Like Brown, the Rams are not a very deep team. Head coach Dan Hurley has played four of his starters at least 32 minutes per game, and has received 81.8 percent of his team's offensive production from that quartet. That production hasn't been especially strong however, with the Rams ranked last in the A-10 in both scoring (60.9 ppg) and field goal percentage (.395). The Rams are also a weak rebounding team as they collect only 32.0 boards per game, the third worst total in the conference. Xavier Munford (17.4 ppg) is the leading scorer, but he has been less-than-efficient as he connects on fewer than 40 percent of his field goal attempts. Nikola Malesevic (12.5 ppg) and Andre Malone (10.2 ppg) round out the Rams' double-digit scoring threats.
Considering this game will feature very few changes in terms of lineup, it will come down to which team has the better starting five. Munford will be the best player on the floor, thus giving the Rams the edge at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rhode Island 67, Brown 61
01/04 10:32:47 ET