How it Happened Rhode Island's offense stalled in the second half - and No. 25 Virginia took advantage - en route to a 70-55 victory in the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off Friday night.
The Cavaliers (6-0) opened the game by hitting seven of their first 10 field goals and led by as many as nine points after a Jack Salt layup amde it a 28-19 game. However, Rhode Island (3-2) fought back, ending the half on an 8-2 run. A 3-pointer from Jarvis Garrett pulled the Rams within three (30-27) with 27 seconds remaining, and defensive pressure caused a poor shot on Virginia's last possession before the break.
The teams traded baskets early in the second half as there were four lead changes and one tie in the opening four minutes. Virginia then went on a 9-0 run to open a double-digit lead at 47-37 that forced the Rams to call time out with 11:34 to go.
Rhode Island was dealt a blow when Robinson was called for a touch foul – his fourth of the game – on an Isaiah Wilkins jumper with 10:54 left on the clock. Wilkins then hit the free throw to put Virginia up 50-39. Nigel Johnson hit a layup to make it 52-39 as the Cavaliers were on a 14-2 run. A Jeff Dowtin jumper ended the skid, and the Rams had an apparent fast break after a defensive stop, but a double technical foul behind the play on Johnson and Jared Terrell halted action.
On the ensuing play, Rhode Island got an Andre Berry layup to trim the lead to 52-43. The Rams made another stop, but turned the ball over on a potential three-on-two break. After another stop, a 3-point shot for Dowtin rattled in and out, and Wilkins scored in the paint on Virginia's next possession to make it an 11-point game again. The Rams were unable to get the deficit back to single digits the rest of the way.
Inside the Box Score
Senior Andre Berry led three Rhode Island players in double digits, scoring 12 points. He added seven rebounds, marking his second straight game with seven boards. Senior Jarvis Garrett recordeded 11 points and four rebounds. He hit several layups in the second half to give the Rams a chance to stay in the game. Senior Jared Terrell finished with 11 points, six assists and two steals. Senior Stanford Robinson had eight points and three steals before fouling out. He was 4-of-4 from the floor. Virginia grabbed the first six rebounds of the game and had a 16-8 edge on the boards in the first half. The rebounding battle was more even in the second half, with the Cavaliers holding a slight 13-12 edge. Rhode Island had a 17-7 advantage in points off turnovers. The Rams have combined to turn the ball over just 21 times in the last two games. Despite a size advantage for Virginia, Rhode Island outscored the Cavaliers in the paint, 34-30. Virginia shot 19-of-22 (86 percent) from the free throw line. Stat of the Game 3:56 – During Virginia's 9-0 run that put the Rams down by 10 points, Rhode Island was held scoreless for 3:56. During that span, the Rams were 0-for-4 from the floor, 0-for-2 at the line and had one turnover.
What's Next Rhode Island returns to the Ryan Center to host a pair of in-state rivals next week. The Rams will welcome Brown on Tuesday night, followed by a Saturday evening game against Providence.