Saint Louis (13-2) at Rhode Island (9-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, January 7, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Thomas M. Ryan Center (7,657) -- Kingston, Rhode Island. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: SLU 8-1, URI 7-2. Away Record: SLU 4-0, URI 2-4. Neutral Record: SLU 1-1, URI 0-0. Conference Record: SLU 0-0, URI 0-0. Series Record: Rhode Island leads, 7-5.
GAME NOTES: The Saint Louis Billikens and the Rhode Islands will each finally get into their respective Atlantic 10 Conference schedules on Tuesday, as the team teams square off at the Ryan Center,
Saint Louis put forth an impressive effort during its non-conference slate, as it won seven straight games and 13 of 15 overall. The only two losses came in tight decisions against nationally-ranked foes Wisconsin (63-57) and Wichita State (70-65). The Billikens will also be on the road this Saturday at Dayton.
Rhode Island has had been more modest during its non-league schedule, earning a record of 9-6. The Rams have won three of their last four bouts, including a 74-70 victory at LSU on Saturday. They are also 7-2 at home, but will visit George Washington and La Salle in their next two bouts.
Xavier Munford scored 24 points and hit a 3-pointer to force overtime in Rhode Island's 82-80 victory over Saint Louis last season. The victory was the fifth straight for the Rams, who have moved to 7-5 in the all-time series.
Robe Loe scored 19 points and Austin McBroom nailed four 3-pointers as Saint Louis easily dispatched Yale in a 75-55 final the last time out. The Billikens had 11 treys as a team and shot 46.2 percent from the field overall, while forcing 18 turnovers from the Bulldogs.
The 20-point rout came without the Billikens' leading scorers really getting into the mix. Dwayne Evans (14.9 ppg, 6 rpg) is the top scoring threat most nights, but he had just seven points on 3-of-7 shooting. Jordair Jett (10.5 ppg 5 apg) made his first appearance off the bench this season and had seven assists, but only four points. Loe (10.1 ppg, 5 rpg) is the third member of the team averaging in double figures and he exhibits solid range for a forward. Mike McCall, Jr. (9.5 ppg) and McBroom (8.5 ppg), who took Jett's spot in the starting lineup, add solid depth.
Despite 22 turnovers and a 24-15 scoring deficit off of those miscues, Rhode Island was still able to overcome LSU the last time out. The Rams shot 44.8 percent from the floor and outscored the Tigers, 21-12, from beyond the arc, while claiming a 46-32 edge on the glass.
Munford (15.8 ppg) is still making plays for the Rams and will be leaned on heavily once again in this rendition between the Billikens and Rams. The 6- foot-2 guard paces the team in scoring, even though he is only connecting on 36.2 percent of his shots from the field. E.C. Matthews (12.1 ppg) also struggles with efficiently, netting just 39.6 percent of his total shots. Gilvydas Biruta (10.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg) is a more efficient scorer, but playing in the frontcourt allows him to get shots closer to the rim. Matthews had 21 points against LSU, and Munford and Biruta and 17 and 19, respectively. Biruta also collected 14 rebounds for his third double-double of the campaign.
Even though Rhode Island has some talent, Saint Louis has shown zero fear on the road (4-0) and should be able to get off on the right foot in league play.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Louis 71, Rhode Island 63
01/07 11:13:27 ET