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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 8, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Calihan Hall (8,295) -- Detroit, Michigan. Television: WADL. Home Record: URI 6-1, Detroit 2-2. Away Record: URI 0-3, Detroit 2-3. Neutral Record: URI 0-0, Detroit 0-0. Conference Record: URI 0-0, Detroit 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 2-2.
GAME NOTES: Both the Rhode Island Rams and the Detroit Titans will try to rebound from losses, as the two squads clash at Calihan Hall on Sunday afternoon.
Rhode Island had been winners of three straight games prior to its current two-game skid, as it fell to George Mason last Saturday (61-54) before losing to Providence at home on Thursday in a heartbreaker, 50-49. The Rams are still a solid 6-4 this season, but they have dropped all three of their road matchups.
Detroit recently embarked on a two-game road swing, coming away with a 65-60 win at South Florida last Saturday and a 91-75 setback at Toledo on Wednesday. The Titans, who are 4-5 on the season, will not play at Calihan Hall again until Dec. 23.
These two teams haven't met since the 1979-80 season, when Detroit claimed a 72-67 victory to even the all-time series at 2-2.
Locked in a tight battle with intrastate state foe Providence earlier in the week, Rhode Island grabbed a one-point lead in the final minute on an E.C. Matthews layup only to fall victim to the game-winning bucket moments later. The team shot only 38.9 percent from the field in the low-scoring affair, while disappointing on its minimal attempts at the free-throw line (6-of-12). Gilvydas Biruta put up 13 points and seven rebounds to lead the way, while Xavier Munford added 11 points in the losing effort. Despite getting outshot by their opponents this season, 46.1 percent to 42.8 percent, the Rams are still able to hold on to a slim scoring margin (+0.2) by holding a firm +5.5 rebounding advantage. Munford has struggled shooting the ball, making only 32.4 percent of his field goal tries (including 25.9 percent from beyond the arc), but he generates enough volume to score a team-best 14.5 points per game. Matthews (10.2 ppg) and Biruta (10.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg) are also consistent contributors.
Detroit never had much of a shot against a hot-shooting Toledo squad (.527), as it made just 42.6 percent of its field goal attempts itself in its latest contest en route to the 16-point defeat. Evan Bruinsma was outstanding in spite of the loss, as he shot 10-of-15 from the field for 25 points while adding 14 rebounds, three assists and three blocks for good measure. The only other noteworthy performance came from Matthew Grant, who netted 10 points off the bench. The Titans have not had much shooting success this season, as they make only 40 percent of their field goal attempts and less than 32 percent of their long-distance tries, but they still score 76.3 points per game thanks to a .792 free-throw percentage, and positive returns in the rebounding (+2.1) and turnover (+1.3) battles. Juwan Howard, Jr. (16.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Bruinsma (11.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.0 bpg) provide a solid foundation in the frontcourt, although neither has cracked 39 percent field goal efficiency. Carlton Brundidge brings 10.4 points per game to the equation, but also struggles from the field (.352).
Both teams have shown promise but have been inconsistent this season, and in an otherwise evenly-matched contest, Detroit gets the edge thanks to the home court advantage.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Detroit 77, Rhode Island 74
12/08 10:37:45 ET