An elite second-half defensive effort pushed Rhode Island to victory, beating Fordham, 52-42, on Sunday afternoon.
Rhody (8-8, 5-4 Atlantic 10) trailed five points early in the second half, with neither team finding much offensive pace in the first half. Fordham (1-7, 1-7 A-10) was able to strike more balance, scoring seven points off the bench from Ty Perry and six points in midst from Joel Soriano. Rhode Island were down 10 points from Jeremy Sheppard, but no other player had more than three points in the half as URI was just 9 of 28 off the floor.
After halftime, Rhode Island held Fordham to just 14 points. The visitors shot just 22.2 percent (6 for 27) in the half. Although it took Rhody a bit to get over the bump, URI ended the game in a 13-2 run on the 6:50 final. This allowed the home team to play at the controls on the home stretch. A pair of free throws from Ishmael Leggett gave Rhody their first lead of the second period at 39-38, and an Allen Betrand 3 scorer on the team’s next possession gave Rhode Island the lead in earnest. . Fordham has only made one of his last nine shots, while URI has managed five of his last seven attempts to pull away when it matters most.
Inside Senior Jeremy Sheppard narrowly missed his first career double-double, scoring a game-high 16 points while grabbing nine rebounds. He added three interceptions and two assists. Freshman Ishmael Leggett made his first career start and posted a career-high 12 points with seven rebounds. No other player in the game tried more than two to the tape. It was the fourth different starting line-up for the Rams this season. The nine players who saw the Rhode Island court had at least nine rebounds. URI had a huge 47-29 advantage on the boards. Sophomore Makhel Mitchell tied Sheppard for team honors with nine rebounds. Mitchell also tied his career record with four blocked shots. game with a central muscle injury, breaking a streak of 31 consecutive starts. It is considered overnight.Up NextRhode Island’s next game – for the moment – is at La Salle on Wednesday January 27.
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