Rhode Island (14-17) vs. Massachusetts (23-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 13, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Barclays Center (17,732) -- Brooklyn, New York. Television: NBCSN-Regional. Home Record: URI 11-6, UMass 11-2. Away Record: URI 3-11, UMass 7-5. Neutral Record: URI 0-0, UMass 5-0. Conference Record: URI 5-11, UMass 10-6. Series Record: Massachusetts leads, 84-58.
GAME NOTES: The sixth-seeded Massachusetts Minuteman take on the 11th-seeded Rhode Island Rams in an Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament second-round matchup at the Barclays Center.
The winner advances to take on the George Washington Colonials in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Rhode Island finished the regular season by winning its last two games, and three of its last four overall, including a 77-65 decision at home versus Fordham last Wednesday. In 51 games all-time in the A-10 Tournament, the Rams own a 21-30 record. URI returns to the tournament after a two-year absence.
UMass has struggled a bit of late, dropping two of its last three, including a 64-62 loss to No. 16 Saint Louis on Sunday. UMass has an all-time record of 34-32 in the A-10 Tournament.
Thursday's game against Rhode Island will be the 143rd between the two schools, with the Minutemen holding a decided edge, 84-58. The Minutemen have won 40 of the last 54 encounters, including both matchups this season.
E.C. Matthews scored 21 points to lead the Rams in their recent win over Fordham. Three others joined him in double figures, they being Xavier Munford (21), T.J. Buchanan (14) and Hassan Martin (13), with Martin adding 12 rebounds and Buchanan pulling down 11 boards to both complete the double- double. Trailing 33-31 at halftime, the Rams exploded for 46 points in the second period, shooting a scorching 65 percent from the field, including 6- of-10 from beyond the arc.
Mumford has been the team's leading scorer this season, dropping in 16.7 ppg. Matthews is hot on his heels with 15.5 ppg, giving the Rams an impressive scoring pair. Gilvydas Biruta adds 10.6 ppg and 7.0 rpg. As a unit, URI is scoring 68.0 ppg, but returns all the points by allowing opponents to net 68.2 ppg.
Chaz Williams finished with a game-high 20 points and nine assists, while Derrick Gordon had 15 points to lead UMass in the loss to Saint Louis. The Minutemen held a 35-33 edge at the break and led by as many as six in the second half before the Billikens rallied, finishing the game on an 8-2 run over the final two minutes. After Jordair Jett scored on a layup for SLU with 3.4 second left, Williams had a chance to win the game for UMass, but a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer fell short.
Williams paces the Minutemen in scoring with 15.8 ppg, and he is joined by Cady Lalanne with 11.9 ppg and Sampson Carter with 10.7 ppg. Three other UMass players also average more than nine points per tilt to complete a potent offensive attack that is putting up a conference-best 76.4 ppg. Lalanne adds 8.1 rpg, ranking him in the top-five in the A-10 in that category.
The Minutemen are the best offensive team in the A-10, and the Rams have neither the defense to hold them down, nor the offense to keep up. Expect UMass to advance.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Massachusetts 76, Rhode Island 69
03/13 10:58:48 ET