Fatts Russell shooting over UMASS defender in 78-80 OT loss. C/O ABC6
The Rams have been on the road for their past four events, and a trip to their neighbor of the North was the last stop.
Rhode Island took on the University of Massachusetts Minutemen, their second-longest opponent after the Brown. Last season, the Rams finished their season at the Mullins Center last March with a 64-63 victory.
In what seemed like deja-vu, this 157th match-up between the two teams had a different outcome than the last. The Minutemen were able to overcome their long time conference rival to a one basket victory in overtime, 80-78. This loss against Massachusetts for Rhode Island is their first since they played back in early 2019 when they fell in the Mullins Center 77-70.
Both teams stepped onto the court coming off wins this past Saturday. Rhode Island dominated VCU, who ranks second in the Atlantic 10. The Minutemen hosted the La Salle Explorers and drove home a win 83-67.
Massachusetts asserted their dominance on their home court with a 7-0 run right off the jump which was ended by a deep three-point shot from Antwan Walker putting the Rams behind by one possession 7-5. A set of free throws from Fatts Russell tied things 14-14. But the eight turnovers and struggle from field goal range (11-of-30) is what allowed Rhode Island to let their opponent walk into the locker room with their heads held high leading by six, 37-31.
A six-point comeback early in the opening of the second half allowed the Rams to tie things up 39-39 when Walker hit yet another deep shot from behind the arc.
The Rams trailed behind the Minutemen the remainder of the second half catching up to them by minor deficits but never catching a lead for themselves. With 0:15 left on the game clock, a three-pointer from Allen Betrand put the Rams at a lock with the Minutemen 72-72 as the buzzer sounded, forcing another five minutes of play.
This was Betrand's second start of the season, his opening debut resulted in a stellar performance at VCU Saturday.
After three scoreless minutes, Makhel Mitchell got the offensive board off of Russell's missed jumper, and put it right through the net. Ronnie Degray replied with a three-pointer on a fast break and the intensity picked up on the floor of the Mullins Center.
Makhel Mitchell forced Tre Mitchell to the stripe with 0:25 on the clock, as the Rams led by one. His set of free throws shifted the lead back to the Minutemen and was insured by another free throw from Carl Pierre.
In the final six seconds Massachusetts led 80-78. With the ball back in Antwan Walker's hands, he ran down the stretch for a layup but the ball tipped out as the final buzzer sounded and the Rams ended their road trip falling 80-78.
Makhel Mitchell achieved a game-high and personal career-high of 23 points shooting 10-of-13 field goals. Betrand and D.J. Johnson both had 11 points and three baskets from the perimeter.
The Rams return to the Ryan Center Saturday Jan. 16 to take on the George Mason Patriots. The Patriots enter Kingston after defeating La Salle 75-42, which puts them ninth in the conference. Even after their loss, the Rams sit at a steady seventh. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. EST and will air on NBCSN.