The University of Rhode Island men’s basketball team will look for its second straight win, and its third in four games, at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center against a depleted Providence College 7 p.m. Thursday.
Although the Rams are 2-6 overall, and the Friars the inverse at 6-2, the teams are in roughly equivalent positions because of depth. URI’s frontcourt is incredibly thin, with senior Ryan Brooks and freshmen Jordan Hare and Mike Aaman needed to play major minutes against PC inside presence Kadeem Batts.
The Rams don’t really have any answers inside for Batts, who’s averaging 17 points and eight rebounds per game.
However, the Friars might not have much beyond Batts, as PC is expected to suit up just five or six scholarship players, depending on the health of leading scorer Bryce Cotton and highly touted freshman recruit Kris Dunn. If Cotton and Dunn are out, Josh Fortune is the lone scholarship guard for the Friars.
In contrast, the Rams have been playing better each game, and should have their full roster for Thursday, minus 6’8” Ifeanyi Onyekaba. While the freshman forward is cleared to practice, the NCAA hasn’t ruled on his eligibility for this year.
URI relies on scoring from the perimeter as a result, between guards Xavier Munford and Mike Powell, and forwards Nikola Malesevic and Andre Malone. The four all average more than 32 minutes per game, with the scraps on the wings picked up by T.J. Buchanan and Alwayne Bigby.
The match-up is the first at their respective schools for PC’s Ed Cooley and URI’s Danny Hurley. Cooley took over the Friars for the 2011-12 season, and Hurley started this year. Both inherited programs coming off single-digit win seasons in conference play.
Can’t make it to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center tonight? We’ll be starting our live chat shortly before 7 p.m. The game is also televised on OSN – Channel 5 or 1005 on Cox – and broadcast on B101.
GoRhody has published a preview, which is readable here. The Friars have won the last four games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, and last year’s win by PC at the Ryan Center was their first ever at the building in five tries.
Following the game, we’ll have video of the post-game press conferences, so stay tuned to Patch for those videos and a short game story.