After Slow Start, URI Pulls Out Win against Sacred Heart

Rhode Island overcame lackluster energy in the first half to hold off Sacred Heart for a 72-62 victory Tuesday night.

The Rams (7-3) trailed 31-29 at halftime as they struggled to contain Sacred Heart’s Tyler Thomas. He had 15 of his game-high 30 points in the opening half. Alex Watson had eight points for the Pioneers (3-7), as the guard duo combined for five 3-pointers before the break.

Thomas made his first two 3-point attempts in the second half, as the game remained close. Watson hit a jumper with 15:41 remaining to put Sacred Heart up 42-41. Rhode Island responded with seven straight points, as Makhel Mitchell and Ishmael Leggett sandwiched layups around an Ishmael El-Amin 3-pointer. The spurt put Rhody up 47-41, and the Rams never relinquished the lead.

Though URI never gave up the lead, Sacred Heart stayed in the game. However, the defensive work of Malik Martin on Thomas kept the Pioneers at an arm’s length. After he made his first two shots of the second half, Thomas did not score again until 6:33 remained. While he finished with 15 second-half points, six came in the final minute, when the outcome had been determined.

With Martin holding Thomas in check, the balanced Rhody offense went to work. El-Amin scored all 11 of his points after the break, and Makhel Mitchell added 10 in the second half. Leggett added eight as the Rams steadily pulled away down the stretch.

Inside the Box Score
Rhode Island had five players score in double figures.
Makhel Mitchell finished with a team-high 14 points, scoring seven in each half. He also blocked three shots, had five rebounds and added one assist.
Ishmael Leggett filled the stat sheet, recording 12 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Ten of his 12 points were scored in the second half
Makhi Mitchell and Ishmael El-Amin both ended the night with 11 points, four rebounds and one assist. El-Amin also had three steals while Mitchell added once of his own, as well as one block and one assist.
Antwan Walker registered 10 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and one steal in just shy of 20 minutes on the floor. He has now come off the bench to score in double figures four times this season.
Malik Martin chipped in with seven points, four rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal.
Sebastian Thomas had a career-high five assists with four points and four rebounds in a career-high 25 minutes.
Sacred Heart’s Tyler Thomas scored a game-high 30 points on 10-of-18 shooting, including 7 makes from the perimeter.
Rhode Island shot better than 50 percent for the fifth time this season, connecting at a 52.5 percent clip.
Rhody (7) and Sacred Heart (12) combined for just 19 free throws on the night.
Up Next
The Rams hit the road to take on Milwaukee Monday, Dec. 13. Game time is 8 p.m. EST.

Categories: Sports