The men’s basketball team has not defeated the University of Rhode Island since 2011, and it was clear from the opening tip that the most recent chapter of this fierce Ocean State rivalry would not go Bruno’s way. The Rams, who were last season’s Atlantic 10 Conference champions and advanced to the round of 32 in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, dominated in almost all statistical categories in their 24 point victory against the Bears.
“URI played well,” said Travis Fuller ’19. “They are a very tough defensive team.”
The game got out of hand for Brown (4-3) before anyone in the arena could blink, as the Rams (4-2) jumped out to an early 20-7 lead behind 56 percent shooting and 13 points from Fatts Russell off the bench on 3-3 three point shooting in the first half.
Desmond Cambridge ’21 carried the load early for the Bears, contributing nine points and making all three of Brown’s three point shots in the first half. The rest of the team went 0-9 from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes.
At the half, the Rams led 43-25 as the Bears only shot 28 percent from the field and had nine turnovers compared to URI’s four. The Rams also recorded five blocks, while Bruno did not record any.
The second half was more of the same in a game that was already long out of reach. Although Brandon Anderson ’20 caught fire with 13 second-half points on 5-9 shooting, the team was still only able to connect on 39 percent of its field goals and 29 percent of its three point shots. Meanwhile, the Rams shot an explosive 67 percent from the field and 50 percent from three.
When the final buzzer rang, the Rams led the Bears in shooting percentage 61 to 34, three point shooting percentage 63 to 26, rebounds 37-30, assists 16-11 and blocks 8-1. Anderson finished with 17 points and three assists while Cambridge added 16 points and two rebounds. Tamenang Choh ’21 notched a career-high eight points along with Jason Massey’s ’18 eight points on 4-5 shooting off the bench. The Bears shot well from the free-throw line, shooting 19-25 from the charity stripe compared to 7-14 shooting from the Rams.
Russell added seven second half points to his hot first half to finish with 20. Jared Terrell also finished with 16 points along with Jeff Dowtin’s 14. URI’s bench was also impressive throughout, as they outscored Bruno’s bench by 22 points.
Despite a tough loss to an intra-state rival, the Bears are still optimistic about the long season ahead and are sticking together as a team.
“Our biggest strength is how tight knit our team is,” Fuller said. “We are extremely connected both on the court and off. We’re a family that’s working hard to get better each and every day, which makes it a fun atmosphere.”
The Bears will return home to the Pizzitola Sports Center Saturday for a game against Central Connecticut State University at 2:00 p.m.