College Basketball

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Rhode Island (12-16) at Massachusetts (21-5)

The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 26, 7 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Mullins Center (9,493) -- Amherst, Massachusetts. Television: None. Home Record: URI 9-6, UMass 11-1. Away Record: URI 3-10, UMass 6-3. Neutral Record: URI 0-0, UMass 4-1. Conference Record: URI 3-10, UMass 8-4. Series Record: Massachusetts leads, 83-58.

GAME NOTES: Currently tied for third place with two other teams in the Atlantic 10 Conference standings, the Massachusetts Minutemen play at home tonight when they try for a season sweep of the Rhode Island Rams.

UMass is 8-4 in conference, which is tied with both VCU and Richmond. The Minutemen are a game behind Saint Joseph's for second place.

The Minutemen have won two in a row and four of their last five contests. That includes an 80-75 triumph over VCU Friday night. Chaz Williams scored 20 points, including four crucial free-throws in the final seconds to put the finishing touches on UMass' win. Derrick Gordon contributed 16 points in the triumph. Trey Davis tacked on 13 points off the bench, Cady Lalanne tallied 10 points and nine rebounds, and Sampson Carter cleared 10 boards.

UMass is one of 11 teams in Division I that has started the same lineup all season. The Minutemen have capitalized offensively as they are averaging 77.0 ppg, which ranks first in the A-10. They are also strong defensively by limiting teams to 30.3 percent shooting from the 3-point line. Williams (15.5 ppg), Lalanne (12.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg) and Carter (10.9 ppg) power UMass on the offense. Lalanne is shooting 58.4 percent from the field. Senior Raphiael Putney enters the game 15 points shy of 1,000 for his career. Williams is averaging 7.2 apg, and he has 15 double-digit assist games in his career, tying Carl Smith's record from 1983-87.

The Rams snapped a six-game skid with an 87-78 road win over St. Bonaventure on Saturday. Xavier Munford delivered 32 points for Rhode Island. E.C. Matthews put up another 24 and Gilvydas Biruta 11 for the Rams. After trailing 43-33 at halftime, the Rams turned it around in the second half with a sizzling 57.1 percent effort from the floor and 19-of-23 at the free-throw line.

Munford (16.6 ppg) is 36 points away from becoming the 51st URI player to score 1,000 career points. Matthews (14.0 ppg) and Biruta (10.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg) are part of a team that averages just 67.8 ppg. Hassan Martin has 64 blocks.

UMass beat the Rams, 73-68, in Kingston on Feb. 9. Williams had 21 points and seven assists for the Minutemen, while Matthews netted 24 for the Rams. UMass shot 53.1 percent from the field in that game to beat Rhode Island for the fourth straight time, and the seventh time in the last eight encounters.

Expect the Minutemen to flex their muscles offensively, just as they did less than three weeks ago. URI is just 21-50 all-time in road games at UMass. If URI doesn't step up defensively, it's going to lead to the team's 17th defeat.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Massachusetts 74, Rhode Island 64

02/26 10:36:48 ET

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