Rhode Island (21-8; 13-5) used a 20-3 run early in the second half to earn a 78-68 win over Saint Joseph’s in the regular-season finale for both teams at the Ryan Center.
The Hawks end the regular season going 13-17 and 7-11 in the Atlantic 10. SJU now awaits the final A-10 results for its seeding and schedule in next week’s Atlantic 10 Championship at the Barclays Center. Check SJUHawks.com for the pairings once they are announced.
The A-10’s leading scorer, DeAndre’ Bembry had a game-high 21 points, six rebounds and six assists before fouling out with under four minutes to play. Freshman James Demery scored 12 points and Isaiah Miles had 10 for the Hawks.
Saint Joseph’s held a 38-37 lead at halftime but the Rams came out and took the lead, 44-42, on a jumper by E.C. Matthews at 16:27. Rhode Island closed out the 20-3 run on a three by Matthews at 12:40, giving them a 57-45 edge.
The Hawks put together a quick 6-0 run, with four points from Aaron Brown, to cut it to 57-51, which was the closest Saint Joseph’s would get the rest of the way. Rhode Island answered with a 9-1 spurt to build its lead back up to 66-52, with the 14-point margin being its biggest of the game.
Despite shooting 56.3 percent in the game, Saint Joseph’s was hurt by 16 turnovers in the game, while URI committed just eight. The Hawks also struggled from the foul line, making just 8-of-17.
The Hawks jumped out to a quick 9-0 start and led by as much as 13-3. Rhode Island fought back with an 18-5 run and took its first lead, 23-20, on a three by Matthews with under eight minutes left in the half. The Rams made just 3-of-17 from three-point range in the contest.
SJU regained the lead on a 10-0 run helped by a pair of three-pointers from Isaiah Miles and a three-point play by Bembry gave the Hawks a 35-28 edge with under four minutes to play. Rhode Island answered with a 9-3 run, but the Hawks, who shot 55 percent shot in the first half, took a 38-37 lead into the break.
Senior Gilvydas Birutas, playing in his final home game, scored 18 points to lead the Rams, with 16 points in the second half. Matthews finished with 17 points, while Hassan Martin scored 14 points and senior T.J. Buchanan had 13.