Rhode Island (11-10) at Fordham (8-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 1, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rose Hill Gym (11,671) -- Bronx, New York. Television: SNY. Home Record: URI 9-3, Fordham 6-4. Away Record: URI 2-7, Fordham 2-8. Neutral Record: URI 0-0, Fordham 0-0. Conference Record: URI 2-4, Fordham 1-6. Series Record: Rhode Island leads, 34-24.
GAME NOTES: The struggling Fordham Rams hope a return home leads to better results, as they butt heads with the Rhode Island Rams in an Atlantic 10 Conference clash at Rose Hill Gym.
Rhode Island is taking to the road for back-to-back duels, after earning an 88-76 victory over Dayton at home last Saturday. The visiting Rams pushed themselves above .500 overall (11-10) with the win over the Flyers, but they are still just 2-4 in league play. They will meet up with VCU next.
Fordham was routed by VCU in a 76-60 final the last time out. The loss was the second straight and eighth in the last nine games for the host Rams, who are just 8-12 overall, including a ghastly 1-6 against A-10 competition. Next up, they will head to Washington D.C. to tangle with George Washington.
Fordham won only three conference games last season, one of which came against Rhode Island (66-63 at home). Still, URI leads the all-time series, 34-24.
Xavier Munford scored 27 points and E.C. Matthews finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds to push Rhode Island past Dayton. The Rams connected on 62.5 percent of their field goal attempts in the contest, while owning a 34-23 advantage on the glass.
Rhode Island rarely performs so well offensively, averaging 67.5 ppg on 43.2 percent shooting this season. In fact, it is the worst scoring unit in the A-10, ranking next-to-last in assists as well (11.4 apg). Munford (16.8 ppg) is the team's top scorer, although he is only connecting on 38.6 percent of his shots from the field. Matthews (11.9 ppg) is the second option, but like Munford, he struggles to consistently knock down shots (.370 FG percentage). Gilvydas Biruta (11.1 ppg, 7 rpg) offers help, while leading the team on the boards.
Fordham was just another victim to Shaka Smart's HAVOC defensive scheme, as VCU took advantage of 18 turnovers while holding the visiting Rams to just 37.3 percent success from the floor. Mandell Thomas tallied a game-high 25 points for Fordham in the loss.
Tom Pecora's squad is scoring better than Rhode Island (73.1 ppg), although not due to efficient shooting as Fordham is netting just 39.6 percent of its tries from the floor. Leading the way for the Rams is Jon Severe (19.6 ppg), who, despite his 34.5 percent success rate from the floor, leads the A-10 in scoring. However, he was limited to nine points on 3-of-13 shooting against VCU. Branden Frazier (17.1 ppg, 4.2 apg) is another potent scorer, who is also valuable for his ball-handling and passing abilities. Mandell Thomas (12.6 ppg) is the only other double-digit scorer on the roster, although he connects on just 36.1 percent of his total shots.
Severe and Frazier have been far too potent to expect another lackluster effort from them on Saturday, especially at home. Fordham may not win many A-10 games this season, but they should do so this time around.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fordham 72, Rhode Island 68
02/01 11:54:08 ET