On Saturday for the 128th time the PC Friars and URI Rams will square off against each other with this year being at the Ryan Center in Kingston. PC holds the edge in the rivalry 73-54, including winning the last seven times against the Rams. Coach Ed Cooley has never lost to the rival Rams and subsequently URI coach Dan Hurley has yet to beat the Friars. The last time the Friars played at the Ryan Center it went a little something like this:
The Friars (6-1) are coming off another too close for comfort victory over Rider, while the Rams (4-2) blew out Brown the other night. The Rams are led in scoring by former Friar target and Weymouth native Jared Terrell (19 ppg). Both the Friars and Rams will be missing a key player as the Friars’ Emmitt Holt, who hasn’t played all year, is out for the season, while URI lead guard EC Matthews is out with a broken wrist suffered in a loss against Nevada. Without further ado here are the Crier’s keys to the game for the Battle for Rhode Island.
Crier’s Keys to the Game
Can a Freshman Make an Impact?
For PC’s Dajour Dickens, Nate Watson and Makai Ashton-Langford and URI’s Daron “Fatts” Russell this will be their first experience playing in the rivalry game and I’m intrigued to see which one steps up. Russell is coming off a breakout game for the Rams as he scored a career high 20 points and dished out 4 assists in a win vs. Brown. For the Friars Watson and Ashton-Langford have gotten more burn than Dickens and both have shown flashes of impressive play. This game could be a great opportunity for Nate Watson to have a big game for the Friars and we will get to why later.
Limit the Turnovers
It’s always important to limit turnovers when you’re on the road but especially against an opponent like the URI Rams. The Rams are tied for 27th in the country in steals per game (9.00) and Stanford Robinson is ranked 5th in the country with 3.2 per contest. URI likes to turn opponents over so they can get in transition and score off the fastbreak. I’m especially looking at Kyron Cartwright to take care of the basketball as the lead guard for the Friars. He has had 3 in each of his previous games, so I would like to see him cut back on the TOs.
Be Aggressive Inside
Throughout the year I have been hounding the Friars about their rebounding woes but Saturday’s game I expect success from them in this category. If I thought the Friars were a bad rebounding team look no further than the Rhode Island Rams. The Rams rank a horrific 327th in the country in rebounds per game and 243rd in offensive rebounds per game. They also don’t have much size with no one in the rotation over 6′ 8″, so consequently they don’t have much rim protection. All offseason I’ve heard Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports rave about how sophomore forward Cyril Langevine would replace Hassan Martin down low and so far he’s been ineffective. So the Crier would love to see the Friars crash the offensive and defensive glass and feed Kalif Young and Nate Watson in the paint. The Friars should also look to attack the basket off the dribble. If they can play an inside out game against Rhody it will put them in a good position to be successful.
The one constant since Ed Cooley took over the Providence College basketball team is that the Friars year in and year out beat the rival Rhody Rams. In fact ever since I went to PC the Friars have only lost to URI once because Greedy Peterson had to get a late T for illegal guarding an inbounds pass. I have a friend that went to URI that talks so much smack every year about how the upcoming year is the Rams’ year to finally beat the Friars and every year a day in December he goes radio silent. Having said all of this I think URI will be a handful for the Friars on Saturday. The Ryan Center will be rocking and the Rams could possibly have the best player on the court in Jared Terrell. I expect emotions to be running high and another nail biting finish. This game could come down to free throws and if that’s the case who knows who wins because both teams suck at shooting free throws. So given the fact that the game is being played at the Ryan Center the Crier predicts the winner will be the Rhode Island Ra…………………………………..
NOT SO FAST!
The game is at the Ryan Center?!? Ed Cooley pays the mortgage at the Ryan Center, give me the Friars!
Friars 74 Rams 73
GO FRIARS, SLAM THE RAM