Playing in front of the second largest crowd in the history of the Ryan Center, Rhode Island (5-2) knocked off in-state rival Providence 75-68 Saturday night.
With 7,959 fans packed into the arena, the Rams used a late first-half run sparked by freshman Fatts Russell and senior Jarvis Garrett to build a double-digit lead. Providence (6-2) led 18-13 following a Nate Watson layup, but the Rams took over from there. A 17-5 run put Rhody ahead by 12 points. During the run, Russell had seven points and Garrett added five as the Rams established control of the game tempo. Rhode Island went into the break up 42-31 as Russell hit a layup just before the buzzer.
The Friars took better care of the ball in the second half and eventually cut the lead to as little as three points. Alpha Diallo's layup with 5:12 remaining made the score 62-59. The lead went back to six points, but Jalen Lindsey hit a 3-pointer to cut the Rhody advantage in half with 3:49 to go. Despite the late surge from Providence, Rhode Island never gave up its lead. A 7-2 spurt pushed the edge back to eight points, and the Rams hit their free throws down the stretch to ensure their first win in the series since 2009.
Inside the Box Score
The crowd of 7,959 was the second largest in Ryan Center history. The only crowd bigger was 8,121 against Pittsburgh on Dec. 21, 2002. It was the 12th sellout in Ryan Center history. Rhode Island is the only team in the country to this point in the season with two wins over Big East schools. For the second game in a row, freshman Fatts Russell poured in a game-high 20 points. The Rhody rookie also added five rebounds, one assist and one steal in 24 minutes off the bench. Seniors Jarvis Garrett (15), Andre Berry (12) and Jared Terrell (11) also scored in double figures, as did sophomore Jeff Dowtin (10). Garrett and Dowtin combined for eight assists - four apiece - with just one turnover each. Terrell added three assists and a game-high four steals while Dowtin had three steals of his own. Senior Stanford Robinson pulled down a game- and career-high 12 rebounds while also contributing seven points, two steals and one assist. The Rams held a 23-5 advantage in points off turnovers. Overall, Rhody forced the Friars into 21 turnovers while committing just 11 of their own. URI also had 13 assists in the game, marking the fifth time this season the Rams finish with more assists than turnovers. Providence had 11 assists opposite 21 turnovers. The Rams' opponents have now recorded more turnovers than assists in all seven games this season. The Rams were 20-of-23 at the free throw line, good for 87.0 percent. Stat of the Game 7 - The 75-68 win over the Friars snapped PC's seven-year win streak in the all-time series. The Rams last defeated Providence on Dec. 5, 2009. Rhody won that game by a score of 86-82.
Up Next Rhode Island returns to action on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at Alabama.