Rhode Island (4-7) at Saint Mary's-CA (8-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, December 27, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKeon Pavilion (3,500) -- Moraga, California.
Television: None. Home Record: URI 3-3, SMC 5-0. Away Record: URI 1-2, SMC
2-1. Neutral Record: URI 0-2, SMC 1-2. Conference Record: URI 0-0, SMC 0-0.
Series Record: Rhode Island leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Rhode Island Rams look to make it three in a row as they visit
McKeon Pavilion for a non-conference tilt with the Saint Mary's Gaels.
Coach Dan Hurley's first season at the helm of the program got off to a rocky
start as his team had a difficult schedule to open up with opponents such as
Virginia Tech, Ohio State, and Seton Hall. Since starting the season out with
five straight losses, the Rams have gone 4-2 and earned a pair of impressive
decisions over SMU (72-50) and Georgia State (65-60) in their last two
outings. Rhode Island has converted over 44 percent of its field goal attempts
in each of its last two games.
Although Saint Mary's suffered an 82-75 loss at Northern Iowa its last time
out, it will still be protecting its 14-game home winning streak against non-
conference foes in this one. Randy Bennett's Gaels are 8-3 overall this season
and appeared to picking up steam with four consecutive wins before falling to
the Panthers. The Gaels are one of the top offensive teams in the nation with
an average of 80.7 points per game on 50.7 percent shooting from the floor.
They are decent on the defensive end as well with an allowed average of only
66.7 ppg on 41.3 percent field goal accuracy.
This will be just the second matchup between these schools on the hardwood in
history. URI earned a victory in the first matchup in 1996.
The Rams used accurate shooting from long distance to down Georgia State as
they drilled 8-of-20 from beyond the arc while limiting GSU to 4-of-17 makes
from 3-point range. URI also held a 36-29 advantage in the rebounding battle
to keep its opponent's total of possessions to a minimum. Senior forward
Nikola Malesevic just missed a double-double with 22 points and nine boards
while junior guard Xavier Munford chipped in 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting
from the field. Munford, who willed the team to a victory over Auburn earlier
this season, is leading the way with 17.2 ppg. Malesevic is the second leading
scorer (13.5 ppg) and top rebounder (5.1 rpg), while Andre Malone is adding 10
Although Saint Mary's shot an impressive 50 percent from the field on the
afternoon versus Northern Iowa, it did not help itself at the foul line (8-
of-17). UNI, on the other hand, made good on 25-of-37 attempts from the
charity stripe and also hit 50 percent of its field goal attempts. Jorden Page
paced the Gaels with 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the floor including a
6-of-9 clip from beyond the arc. Senior point guard Matthew Dellavedova, who
was the West Coast Conference Player of the Year a season ago, finished with
just nine points and six assists after going 3-of-11 from the field and 1-of-7
from 3-point range. Dellavedova enters Thursday's action with averages of 18.5
points and 6.1 assists per game. Brad Waldow (11 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and the now
recovered Stephen Holt (10.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg) are both contributing double-digit
scoring averages as well.
The Rams are a much improved team in recent weeks, but they will be in over
their heads against SMC, which rarely loses back-to-back games. The Gaels
should be able to coast to the victory as they return to the friendly
environment of McKeon Pavilion.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's 78, Rhode Island 68
12/27 10:33:58 ET
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