Rhode Island (3-1) at (5) Arizona (4-0)|
Tuesday, November 19, 11 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKale Center (14,545) -- Tucson, Arizona.
Television: ESPN U. Home Record: URI 2-0, UA 3-0. Away Record: URI 0-1, UA
1-0. Neutral Record: URI 1-0, UA 0-0. Conference Record: URI 0-0, UA 0-0.
Series Record: Arizona leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The NIT Season Tip-Off continues on Tuesday, as the Rhode Island
Rams tangle with the fifth-ranked Arizona Wildcats. The winner advances to
next week's semifinal round in New York City.
Both teams were in action on Monday night, with Rhode Island slipping past
Division II power Metropolitan State (66-63), and Arizona blasting Fairleigh
URI improved to 3-1 on the season, although Metro State counts the games
played in this event as exhibitions. The Rams, under the direction of first-
year head coach Dan Hurley, opened the campaign with a 97-77 win over Maine,
but were then routed themselves at SMU three days later, 89-58. A 72-59
victory over visiting North Carolina A&T last Friday had the team feeling
better about itself, and then came Monday's narrow triumph over the
Arizona scored an even 100 points in giving head coach Sean Miller his 100th
victory at the school, as the team completely dominated the Knights of FDU on
Monday night. It was the fourth win in as many chances for the Wildcats this
season, three of which have taken place on their home floor. UA posted
victories against three California-based schools prior to last night's win, as
Cal Poly (73-62), Long Beach State (91-57) and San Diego State (69-60) all
fell victim to Miller's crew.
Arizona owns a 2-0 lead in the all-time series with Rhode Island.
It wasn't pretty, but the Rams survived Monday's meeting with Metro State by
shooting 42.9 percent from the floor, which included an 8-of-17 showing from
3-point range. A 42-27 advantage on the glass certainly helped matters,
helping mask the fact that the Rams committed 16 turnovers. Trailing by 10
points at the break, URI battled back by holding the Roadrunners to only 23
points in the second half. Xavier Munford and E.C. Matthews scored 16 points
and grabbed seven rebounds apiece for coach Hurley's squad, while Munford and
Biggie Minnis each handed out five assists.
Arizona put six players in double figures on Monday night against FDU, as the
host team scored twice as many points as its overmatched opponent. Gabe York
poured in 20 points, Nick Johnson had 16, and Aaron Gordon notched a double-
double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats, who made good on 54.4
percent of their field goal attempts, hitting 10 3-pointers along the way. A
massive 55-24 rebounding advantage played an integral role, as did the fact
that Arizona committed only five turnovers. Defensively, the 'Cats held the
Knights to 31 percent shooting from the floor, as the visitors converted only
6-of-20 long-range tries. Johnson leads the club in scoring at 16 ppg, and
Gordon is nearly averaging a double-double with 13.3 points and 9.8 caroms per
While the Rams put forth a gritty performance in battling back to take down
Metro State, they will be hard-pressed to duplicate that effort tonight
against an Arizona squad that rarely loses at home. Expect the Wildcats to
dictate the tempo from the opening tip, en route to another double-digit win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona 81, Rhode Island 62
11/19 10:54:11 ET