URI Gives Up Late Lead To Lose to St. Louis in Home Finale

Rhode Island rallied late but came up short in its final home game of the season, falling to Saint Louis 80-74 Wednesday night at the Ryan Center.

The Rams (14-14, 5-11 Atlantic 10) came out hot and pushed their lead to double-digits on a Makhel Mitchell dunk that made the score 30-20 URI with six minutes remaining in the first half. The Billikens erased the deficit however, closing the period on a 19-3 run that put them up by six (39-33) heading into the break.

SLU’s Yuri Collins – the NCAA’s assists leader – dished out seven first-half helpers, while the Rams combined for just six as a team.

The Billikens (20-10, 11-6 Atlantic 10) remained in control through much of the second half, pushing their lead to as many as 15 (58-43) after a 3-pointer by Gibson Jimerson with 13 minutes left to play. Rhode Island responded with a 16-3 run – keyed by seven consecutive points from Sebastian Thomas – to pull within two at 61-59.

The Rams continued to apply the pressure, eventually tying the score at 63-63 on a Malik Martin free throw with 7:05 on the clock. Jimerson then hit a trey for SLU – the team’s first field goal in more than six minutes – to put the Billikens up 66-63. Back-to-back layups by Martin and Sheppard later gave the Rams a 67-66 advantage, forcing Saint Louis to call a timeout with 5:30 remaining on the clock. The Billikens regrouped and held Rhody to just three field goals down the stretch, pulling away for the 80-74 win.

Inside the Box
Jeremy Sheppard scored a team-high 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting with a pair of 3-pointers.
Makhi Mitchell recorded a career-high six blocked shots to go with 13 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Makhel Mitchell also scored in double figures – with 10 points – and added seven rebounds, two assists and one steal.
Sebastian Thomas pulled down a career-best five rebounds to go with seven points and two assists.
Jalen Carey contributed nine points on a 4-for-6 night from the field. He also had two rebounds, two steals and one assist.
Ishmael Leggett finished with eight points and four rebounds.
Malik Martin added five points, five rebounds, one block and one assist.
With Martin and Antwan Walker replacing the Makhi Mitchell and Makhel Mitchell in the starting lineup, it marked the first time this season that the Mitchell twins did not start.
For Makhel Mitchell, it snapped a streak of 50 consecutive starts, while Makhi Mitchell had made 27 straight starts entering the night.
The shift in the starting lineup helped Rhody to a 39-7 advantage in bench scoring.
Rhody also had a 15-8 edge in fastbreak points and a 7-2 advantage in blocked shots.
Rhode Island connected on just 10-of-22 foul shots, marking the fourth game in a row – and 10th time this season – the Rams fail to hit at least 50 percent of their free throw attempts.
Gibson Jimerson (22 points) and Fred Thatch, Jr. (21 points) combined for more than half of the Billiken’s 80 points.
Up Next
The Rams will travel to Philadelphia to close out the regular season at Saint Joseph’s on Saturday afternoon. Tipoff at Hagan Arena is set for 2:30 p.m.

Categories: Sports