No. 16 Rhode Island seeks 16th consecutive win
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Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley said his team's 15-game winning streak establishes the 16th-ranked Rams as something more than a flash in the pan.
"We're not a team, we're a program," Hurley said Friday night after Rhode Island beat visiting Davidson 72-59. "We've got a real deep team. You can go on winning streaks and have seasons like this when you have different guys step up each night."
Sophomore forward Cyril Langevine scored a career-high 14 points and added eight rebounds and two blocked shots in 22 minutes, and senior guard Jarvis Garrett scored all 17 of his team-high points in the second half for the Rams.
Rhode Island (20-3, 12-0 Atlantic 10) has matched the second-longest winning streak in school history, trailing a 22-game streak that ended in 1939. The Rams host Richmond (9-15, 7-5) on Tuesday night.
Proof of Hurley's "program" statement: This is the third 20-win season for Hurley in the past four years. Hurley joins Jim Baron (six), Frank Keaney (three), Jack Kraft (three) and Al Skinner (three) as the only coaches with three seasons of 20 or more wins with Rhode Island.
The key to the Rams' success is defense, particularly on the perimeter. Davidson, which had won eight of its last 10, made 20 3-pointers in last week's victory over Saint Joseph's. The Wildcats shot just 4 of 17 from beyond the arc against Rhode Island.
"Eliminating the 3-point line was key No. 1," Hurley said. "Our goal is five or less. We probably could have lived with seven or eight. We just didn't think they had a chance to beat us if they didn't shoot the ball well."
Rhode Island holds opponents to 31.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc for the season.
Richmond has lost two of its last three games after putting together a five-game winning streak.
In a 97-88 loss at St. Bonaventure on Saturday, sophomore guard Nick Sherod scored a game-high 26 points and freshman forward Grant Golden tied a career-high with 11 field goals.
Junior guard Khwan Fore scored a season-high 16 points and freshman guard Jacob Gilyard had 14. Gilyard led the Spiders in assists (six) and steals (five). His 68 steals ties for fifth-most in a season in Richmond history.
Richmond's lack of depth -- only three points scored by the reserves against St. Bonaventure -- is a concern.
The Spiders might be without sophomore guard De'Monte Buckingham, who is averaging 12.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. He did not play against St. Bonaventure because of dehydration and leg cramps, which sent him to the hospital last week after he missed most of the previous game against VCU.
Richmond coach Chris Mooney, encouraged by how his team competed against St. Bonaventure despite the lack of quality depth, said he is hopeful to have Buckingham healthy enough to play against Rhode Island. He was considered questionable as of Monday morning.
"For not having De'Monte (against St. Bonaventure), to play as hard as we did, to do as many good things and be positive, I thought all of those things are really impressive and bodes well," Mooney said.
Updated February 12, 2018