Bears vs. Rams, Bruno vs. Rhody, Brown vs. URI. No matter how you phrase it, when these two in-state adversaries meet, you know what you are going to get: a fast-paced, aggressive and physical battle between two unrelenting teams that love to play each other.
Over 5,000 fans got just that when the two Ocean State rivals met in the Ryan Center in Kingston, Rhode Island Wednesday night.
In his last game against URI, Steven Spieth ’17 wanted to leave his mark. “We want to show that we belong playing against them,” Spieth said. “We can compete against anyone.”
With last year’s narrow overtime loss still fresh in their minds, the members of Brown’s (1-2) squad matched No. 21 URI’s (3-0) physicality, but the shots did not fall for the Bears. URI senior Hassan Martin defended the paint with fervor, racking up six blocks in the first half. On the other end of the floor, the Rams shot well, resulting in a 36-21 lead over the Bears with 4:30 left in the first half. Bruno cut the deficit to eight at the break, with Rhody leading 41-33.
While two of the three starting guards, Obie Okolie ’19 and Tavon Blackmon ’17, were under the weather, they still played substantial portions of the contest. The third member of Bruno’s starting backcourt, Brandon Anderson ’20, came into his own. Before the game, Spieth said that Anderson was adjusting well to the speed of the college game. “I think he’ll have a good night,” he added.
Spieth was right. The 6-foot-1 freshman contributed 16 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals on the night.
In the second half, the Bears clawed back into the game. With 3:36 left to play, the score was 70-65 in the Rams’ favor. But Brown could not bring it any closer. Rhode Island held on for a 79-72 win.
Brown has now lost eight of the last nine matchups with URI, with its last win coming in 2011.
Despite the close win, URI shot 57.7 percent from the field, 19 percentage points better than Brown’s 38.7 percent shooting.
Spieth posted yet another impressive stat line on the night, scoring 21 points in 38 minutes of play, both game highs. He added five rebounds, four assists and two steals. This marks the second straight game in which Spieth has gone over 20 points.
Travis Fuller ’19 again provided help off of the bench. The forward scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 25 minutes of play.
Despite his illness, Blackmon supplied the Bears with 11 points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal.
This Saturday, Brown will step on the court with a Marist team (0-3) that is still licking its wounds after a 107-65 beatdown courtesy of URI. Sunday, Bruno will matchup against Albany (2-1). Both games will be broadcast on ESPN3.