Recap: Rhode Island vs. Metropolitan State
Tucson, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - E.C. Matthews scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half as the Rhode Island Rams rallied back to defeat the Metropolitan State Roadrunners in the opening round of the NIT Season Tip-Off at the McKale Center.
Xavier Munford also scored 16 points and dealt out five assists for URI (3-1) but finished just 5-of-18 from the floor. Matthews and Munford pulled down seven rebounds each. Biggie Minnis provided a spark off the bench with eight points, five rebounds and five assists.
Mitch McCarron registered a double-double for the Roadrunners (2-0) with 19 points and 12 rebounds while Harrison Goodrick chipped in 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field. Brandon Jefferson added 11 points and five assists. Nicholas Kay posted 11 points for Metro State, which counted the game as an exhibition.
The top ranked Division II team in the nation showed no fear in the early stages as it knocked down 51.9 percent of its field goal tries including 5- of-12 from 3-point range to take a 40-30 lead into halftime. The Roadrunners also forced URI into 12 turnovers while committing only five miscues in the opening 20 minutes themselves.
The Rams locked down on the defensive end after the break and limited Metro State to just 33.3 percent shooting from the floor with an 0-of-5 showing from beyond the arc. URI attempted eight more field goals in the second stanza due to its dominant, 21-14, edge in the rebounding battle which included a 6-0 advantage in offensive boards. The Rams began the second half with a 21-5 run to overcome the halftime deficit and take a 51-45 lead, but the contest remained close down the stretch as the Roadrunners refused to go away.
After McCarron made a layup with 26 seconds left in regulation to cut URI's lead down to three points at 64-61, Munford made the front end of a trip to the charity stripe to make it a two-possession game. Metro State failed to come up with any points on its next possession and Munford made two free- throws to put it out of reach before a last second layup ended the game with the Roadrunners trailing by three.
URI enjoyed a 42-27 edge in the rebounding battle. The Rams will advance to play the winner of the Farleigh Dickinson and Arizona matchup on Tuesday. Metro State will take on the loser of that tilt.Game Notes