St. Joe's suffered a tough loss on Tuesday night at Hagan Arena, letting a 13-point second-half lead slip away against A10 foe VCU. The 85-82 loss to VCU ended Saint Joseph's 7-game winning streak, and evened their Atlantic 10 record at 1-1. Isaiah Miles poured in 31 points in the losing effort, his second 30-plus point performance of the season. Miles had a career-best 36 points in December against Virginia Tech.
The loss was a deflating one for the Hawks, but they now have an opportunity to bounce back against a Rhode Island team that was won three straight. The Rams come to Hagan Arena on Sunday afternoon at noon, in a game that is nationally televised on NBC Sports Net. The 11-3 Hawks and 10-5 Rams play twice this season, with the first being on Hawk Hill.
Rhode Island was the preseason favorite to win the Atlantic 10, in large part due to junior shooting guard E.C. Matthews. Unfortunately, Matthews' season lasted all of ten minutes, as he tore his ACL in the first half of the Rams' season opener against American. URI was also without the services of junior jumping jack Hassan Martin for two complete games and the majority of a third. Martin returned to the court on Tuesday when the Rams hosted Richmond. URI won 77-65, and Hassan chipped in 10 points and 7 rebounds in 27 minutes of game time.
Despite these injury woes, URI is still a dangerous team, in large part due to Hassan Martin, but also due to strong perimeter play. Graduate transfer Four McGlynn is URI's leading scorer this season. The 6'2 sniper out of York, Pennsylvania is averaging 12.9 points per game for Coach Hurley. McGlynn is a shooter, and a tremendous one at that. Over the past three games, he is a combined 14-30 from downtown. In an overtime win over Brown, Four went 6-13 from deep and poured in a career-high 33 points. St. Joe's was torched in the second half on Tuesday by VCU sharp-shooter Melvin Johnson. The Hawks will have to do a better job against McGlynn on Sunday.
Sophomore wing guard Jared Terrell was a major recruiting coup for Dan Hurley. He's averaging 12 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game for the Rams. While McGlynn is the sharp-shooter, Terrell is the athletic, slashing, strong 220-pound scoring wing. He will likely be Aaron Brown's cover early on. James Demery should also see some time on Terrell.
A match-up that I'm personally excited to watch is Jarvis Garrett against Shavar Newkirk. Garrett is a sophomore, and was a player that St. Joe's recruited hard out of prep school. The Hawks got Newkirk in that class, then Garrett pledged to the Rams. Jarvis is averaging 11.5 points, 4 boards, and 4.5 assists per game. Newkirk has really played well this season, and this is an opportunity for him to show well against one of the league's better sophomore guards.
St. Joe's is currently favored by 3 points in tomorrow's game, per the folks out in Las Vegas. Hassan Martin possesses exceptional athleticism at the 4. On the flip side, Isaiah Miles is playing like a First Team All-League player. That match-up will be fun to watch. As will the point guard battle between Newkirk and Garrett. URI, like St. Joe's, doesn't possess a true post-up 5 type of player. The Hawks start Pierfrancesco Oliva there, and he will hopefully play more tomorrow than he has of late. URI has 6'9 Memphis transfer Kuran Iverson, who is more of a stretch player as well. From a straight fan perspective, it's a shame that E.C. Matthews is out, as the DeAndre Bembry-E.C. Matthews match-up would be about as good as you'll ever get in the A10. With Matthews out, the teams are still somewhat evenly matched. I do like the Hawks in this one, let's say 78-73. And DeAndre Bembry gets the bad taste out of his mouth from Tuesday's 1-6 from three, 4-9 from the charity stripe performance. The Hawks need this one to get back on track, and I think they will.
St. Joe's-Rhode Island Preview
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