Despite a definitive coming out game for freshman forward Jordan Hare, the University of Rhode Island men’s basketball team struggled to score and hit free throws down the stretch in a 58-54 overtime loss to Loyola University of Maryland.
Hare, in only his second start for URI (0-5), had eight points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks in 28 minutes. As opposed to his previous games, the freshman also avoided turnovers and foul trouble, picking up just two fouls and one turnover.
However, the Rams lost the game via the free throw line. Despite getting 20 shots, URI only hit 10, as Hare and Nikola Malesevic combined to go 4-for-12. Malesevic came off the bench but played 35 minutes, finishing with 16 points but just six rebounds and five turnovers.
For the Greyhounds (5-1), guard Robert Olson shrugged off some bad looks and just kept shooting. He finished with a game-high 20 points, including a 4-for-9 tally from 3-point range that included the shot that sent the game to overtime.
With less than five seconds, Olson’s shot – coming off a screen – hit nothing but net to tie the game. URI’s Xavier Munford had an open look from the top of the 3-point line to win the game, but it hit front rim and went off the backboard as time expired.
In the five-minute overtime, URI took a quick 3-point lead, on a trey by Munford. However, Loyola tied the game up, and a missed free throw by Hare and a missed 3 by Andre Malone allowed Loyola to extend the lead to three.
However, URI got multiple chances with less than 10 seconds in overtime to make a miracle comeback. Loyola’s Erik Etherly missed the front-end of a 1-and-1, but Anthony Winbush got the rebound for the Greyhounds.
Winbush then missed two more free throws, but again the rebound went to Loyola, this time to guard Dylon Cormier. He kept things interesting by missing his first shot, but his second finally extended the Loyola lead to four, and URI’s Mike Powell missed a leaning 3 at the buzzer.
For URI, the guards were once again the iron men of the team. Although Powell struggled from the field, shooting only 1-for-11, he played about 40 minutes and didn’t have a turnover. Munford and Malone combined to shoot 10-for-25, for 25 points in 80 minutes.
T.J. Buchanan also returned to the URI lineup after missing several games because of an injury. However, he missed the only shot he took in nine minutes, and only had two rebounds.
The attendance for Friday’s game was 3,614.
URI will look for its first win of the year – again – vs. a power conference foe – again. The Rams play 4 p.m. Sunday at Auburn (2-3). The Tigers are on a two-game losing streak, falling to the A-10’s Dayton, and also to Boston College.
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