URI lost to George Mason 84-67 at the Ryan Center Sunday night.
How it happened: URI got off to a good enough start, taking an 8-3 lead as George Mason made only one field goal in the first 5:15 of the game. But the Patriots settled in and URI scuffled for the rest of the half. That trend was especially apparent when the Patriots hit four 3-pointers in a three-minute span, which turned a five-point lead into a 13-point advantage. The lead grew to 17 in the second half before URI turned the ignition on several comeback drives. Each time, though the Patriots answered. The last one was the most emphatic. After URI made it a seven-point game with 4:55 left, the Patriots scored nine straight points to put the game away.
What it means: The rollercoaster continues. URI has almost perfectly alternated wins and losses all season and have now done it across an eight-game span. This missed opportunity is among the most costly. Coming off a pretty good showing at Richmond, at home, with a chance to make an early move in what shapes up as a wild A-10 race, the Rams couldn’t make it happen.
Missing in action: David Cox focused most of his postgame comments not on poor shooting or shaky defense, but on an overarching problem. For the second time this year - Stony Brook being the other - the Rams did not play the brand of basketball that he wanted to see and the result was a second home loss. Cox said, “I need to find five guys who are going to be willing and committed to playing Rhode Island basketball with the toughness, the physicality that we always have played this game with. I had trouble finding that today. Trust me, beginning tomorrow, I will identify those guys, whether it’s five guys or seven or what have you. I will find those guys and we will right this ship come Wednesday.”
Cold night: Everyone knows the Rams haven’t been a good shooting team all year. Off their best shooting performance of the season, they reverted to form and then some. The Rams missed their first 15 3-point tries before Omar Silverio made one with 10:37 left in the game. Silverio ended up making three shots from deep, but he was the only one as the rest of the Rams went 0-for-22 for a final line of 3-for-25. Some of the looks were good, some not. It didn’t seem like URI was forcing quick, off-the-dribble 3s like it did early in the season. But the cold shooting remained.
Flip side: George Mason had none of the same trouble, shooting 52 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3-point range. The Rams gave up far too many good looks, both inside and out.
Pulling his weight: Cyril Langevine certainly did his part with 15 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks and two assists. He also played all but four minutes, 26 seconds.
Rough showings: URI had been getting some breakout performances of late but saw a few guys go the other way on this night. Christion Thompson and Dana Tate were both scoreless and Jermaine Harris had four points while battling foul trouble all night.
Quotable: “Embarrassing effort on our behalf. We were outcoached, we were outplayed, we were outworked thoroughly and the result was an almost 20-point loss on our home court.” - Cox
Next: URI hosts St. Bonaventure on Wednesday.