ShareThis Page
Rhode Island breaks press, beats slumping West Virginia |

Rhode Island breaks press, beats slumping West Virginia

The Associated Press
| Sunday, December 16, 2018 6:48 p.m

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Rhode Island broke West Virginia’s press and broke down the Mountaineer defense in the second half of their game at the Hall of Fame Showcase.

The Rams’ Jeff Dowtin and Fatts Russell scored 18 points each as Rhode Island pulled away for an 83-70 win at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.

Cyril Langevine added 15 points, Christion Thompson had 12 and Jermaine Harris chipped in 11 for Rhode Island (5-3) in a foul-filled game.

Wesley Harris scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Mountaineers (6-4), who have lost two of their last three.

The Rams, who led for more than 33 minutes, were up just 63-62 with 7½ minutes left, but outscored West Virginia 20-8 down the stretch to secure the win.

“I think that these guys are starting to find a rhythm,” coach David Cox said. “I think they’re starting to understand exactly what it’s going to take from these guys, and I think our freshmen are starting to grow up.”

Langevine had five early points, and the Rams jumped out to an early 13-7 lead. But he was among the first to get into foul trouble, picking up two in the first five minutes.

He wasn’t alone. The whistles came early and often and both teams were in the double bonus midway through the first half.

The teams combined for 56 fouls, 28 apiece. Rhode Island’s Jermaine Harris and Dana Tate and West Virginia’s James Bolden fouled out. Seven other players had at least three fouls.

“We knew we had to come out playing physical to set the tone,” said Thompson, who had four fouls. “Once we got adjusted and figured out how the refs were calling the game, we just had to adjust.”

Rhode Island led 45-43 at the break, but trailed 52-50 after a layup and free throw by Lamont West that capped a 7-0 West Virginia run.

But the Rams didn’t panic and took control for good a few minutes later. A 3-pointer from Langevine gave Rhode Island a 69-62 lead and a layup by Tyrese Martin gave the Rams their first 10-point lead at 75-65.

West Virginia shot just 32 percent from the floor and made just eight of their 27 shots in the second half.

“Our two starting guards were 1 for 14. How are you going to win?” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “I don’t think we were ready to play.”

This was the first time this season Rhode Island has put four or more players in double figures.

Junior forward Sagaba Konate missed another game with a right knee injury that has been bothering him since the preseason. Konate set the West Virginia school record for blocked shots a week ago with seven against Pitt and has 191 in his career. He also missed the team’s game against Rider game on Nov. 28 with the injury.

Rhode Island committed just nine turnovers against West Virginia’s full-court pressure, while forcing the Mountaineers into 15 giveaways.

“They had six steals, and we had one,” Huggins said. “We’re supposed to be the best pressing team in America?”

Rhode Island outscored West Virginia 44-24 in the paint and negated the pressure by getting out in transition, where the Rams got 14 points to just four for the Mountaineers.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.