A disappointing year for Dan Hurley and Rhode Island got even tough this week when Hassan Martin suffered a knee injury against Davidson on Wednesday that will keep the 6-foot-7 junior out of the lineup for the rest of the season. Martin joined E.C. Matthews, hurt in the first game, as all-conference Rams knocked out for the year by knee injuries.
Combine those injuries with Jarvis Garrett needing to wear a Hannibal-like mask to protect his injured jaw, and Rhode Island just looks like a banged up team when you look out on the floor.
The Rams, undermanned and as underdogs, had a tremendous response to the loss against Davidson and Martin’s injury, putting Dayton away early in a wire-to-wire 75-66 win.
Rhode Island held Jack Gibbs in check earlier this week and played solid on defense again at Dayton, but some of this result can be chalked up to a bad day for the Flyers. Dayton missed 10 of its first 12 shots and fought through a funk all game, never leading and finishing the afternoon shooting 41.8 percent from the floor.
It’s a really bad loss for Dayton, especially after dropping games to Saint Joseph’s and St. Bonaventure last week and a narrow overtime win at Saint Louis on Tuesday. After three losses in four games, a Dayton team once nationally ranked and leading the way in the Atlantic 10 is now out of first place and needing a strong performance in the conference tournament — or at least a reversal of its recent fortunes — to avoid a slide to the seven or eight line of the bracket.
But back to Rhode Island, experiencing a great bit of joy after so much disappointment this year. Jared Terrell and Andre Berry were efficient and effective on offense. Berry, a 6-8 sophomore with only 19 career points entering Saturday’s game, finished with a career-high 15 points (7-for-7 shooting).
Dayton did make a charge in the last five minutes, using full-court pressure to set up easy buckets and cutting into the lead as Rhode Island started making mistakes and picking up fouls in the final moments of the game. Four McGlynn and Terrell helped ice the win at the line, giving this shorthanded Rams team a great win to remember during this tough injury-plagued season.