Rhode Island (0-1) at Virginia Tech (1-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 12, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cassell Coliseum (9,847) -- Blacksburg, Virginia.
Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: URI 0-0, Virginia Tech 1-0. Away Record:
URI 0-0, Virginia Tech 0-0. Neutral Record: URI 0-0, Virginia Tech 0-0.
Conference Record: URI 0-0, Virginia Tech 0-0. Series Record: URI leads, 6-5
GAMES NOTES: Virginia Tech will look to make it two wins in two games for
first year head coach James Johnson when the Hokies host the Rhode Island Rams
at Hagan Arena on Monday night.
Rhode Island is also playing under a rookie head coach in Dan Hurley. After
winning only seven games last season, the Rams were competitive against
Norfolk State in their season opener but ran out of gas in the second half in
a 67-55 defeat. Rhode Island led 30-25 at the half in the game, but couldn't
hang on. The squad's depth was exposed, as Rhode Island has only nine players
that are eligible to play on the roster. That meant that four starters played
at least 32 minutes. Rhode Island will participate in the Hall of Fame Tip-off
Classic next Saturday when it faces Ohio State at Mohegan Sun Arena in
As for Virginia Tech, Johnson's first foray as a head coach went as well as it
could have with the Hokies cruising to an 80-62 win over East Tennessee State
in the season opener. Johnson is tasked with rebuilding a program that went
16-17 last season, its first losing campaign since 2006. Johnson spend five
years as an assistant at Virginia Tech before this season and has a tough task
with several players transferring and a key recruit (Montrezl Harrell) opting
out. Next on the docket for the Hokies is a date with in-state foe VMI this
In 11 previous meetings Rhode Island has come out on top six times against
The Rams failed to get in any sort of rhythm on offense in the opener as they
connected on only 28.3 percent of their shots in the contest. The Rams also
struggled to take advantage of a 30-18 edge in free throw attempts by only
netting 19 shots from the charity stripe.
A lot rests on the shoulders of Nikola Malesevic (11.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg in 2011)
coming into this season. Obviously Rhode Island still needs to find other
players that will contribute consistently, as Malesevic put in 26 points and
brought down nine rebounds against Norfolk State, a performance that will be
hard to duplicate night-in and night-out. Xavier Munford certainly took enough
shots to be considered the team's go-to scorer on the wings but he knocked
down only 3-of-19 attempts from the floor for eight points and did not get to
the line once. Andre Malone also looked rusty after playing in only 10 games
last season. Marone hit on 3-of-11 shots from the floor and finished with 13
points thanks in large part to a 6-for-7 showing from the free throw line.
Rhode Island did improve on defense in the loss after allowing 75.5 ppg last
season, but it remains to be seen if that will continue going forward.
Virginia Tech surged to a 43-28 halftime lead and never looked back in its win
over East Tennessee State. The Hokies were a solid 51.9 percent shooting team
in the first half and distributed the ball nicely as a team with 19 assists
Erick Green was especially effective in the game with a team-high 21 points
and six assists. He also collected a pair of steals. That type of effort his
something Johnson came into the season expecting from Green, who averaged 15.6
points per game last season. Jarell Eddie (9.1 ppg in 2011) played well in the
frontcourt posting a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. Robert Brown
also got into double figures in the game with 16 points while handing out five
assists. Brown (6.8 ppg) was used primarily as a reserve last season but was
inserted into the starting lineup in the opener where he should continue to
reside as the season progresses. That will certainly be true if he continues
to produce at a level similar to the opener.
Neither of these teams is likely to put on an offensive clinic game-in and
game-out. If either team is more likely to light up the scoreboard with
frequency it is Virginia Tech, especially against Rhode Island's limited
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Tech 70, Rhode Island 58
11/12 10:44:10 ET
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