PC vs. URI - What You Need to Know
Saturday, December 02, 2017
Joe Calabro, GoLocalProv Lifestyle Team
|PC and URI set to renew rivalry|
From the days of Sly versus Soup, and Lamar versus Jamal and now Kyron Cartwright versus Jared Terrell, the PC vs URI basketball game is almost always a tough, physical knockdown battle that over the last couple of seasons has come down to the final minutes.
On Saturday, the (6-2) Friars and (4-2) Rams will meet at the Ryan Center.
“We are looking forward to playing Rhode Island. It is a game our state loves. You know, we are going to have to bring our A game to get a road win in a tough environment,” said Providence head coach Ed Cooley.
URI head coach Dan Hurley added, "I look at the game as a quality opponent, someone like a Dayton or a VCU, they are obviously a rival, but I don’t think you ever look at the schedule and say that is a must-win game for me. Coaching is different then fandom, coaches are just kind of looking at that next opponent and it’s just kind of emotionless, faceless. it’s just about trying to figure out a way to win the game."
The Friars have won seven straight and eight of the last nine games against Rhode Island with URI's last win coming in 2009.
Game time is set for 5 p.m. and can be seen on CBS Sports Network.
See What You Need to Know in the Slideshow Below
Tickets for the game are sold out and have been for about a week.
However, if you're looking to go, you can buy tickets on StubHub (as of Friday) for as little as $175 and as much as $235.
The game can be found on CBS Sports Network.
Tip-off is set for 5 p.m.
Cooley Blasts Ryan Center Crowd
Providence College head coach Ed Cooley fired shots across the bow during his media availability on Thursday at Alumni Hall.
Cooley blasted URI fans for not selling out the building every night.
"When Providence College goes to the Ryan Center we know it is going to be sold out. I think people are cheating that program
I think people are cheating that program not selling the building out every night. It is a great brand of basketball, they have done a really good job building it. It’s a shame that the Ryan Center can’t sell out every game, and it’s only sellout is when the Friars come to town.
Hopefully, those fans that support them understand the importance of a home court advantage, and I think those kids and those coaches down there deserve it.”
Expect the URI fans to be out in full force on Sunday.
History of the Rivalry
The Friars and Rams have played continuously since 1935, but the rivalry really picked up in the 70's when Dave Gavitt's top recruit, Sly Williams, said he would come to Providence and then changed his mind and went to URI.
Back then, PC did not require recruits to sign letters of intent like they do now.
Following his career at URI, Williams went on to be selected by the New York Knicks in the first round of the 1979 NBA draft.
Overall, the teams have met 127 times, with the Friars holding a 73-54 advantage.
PC has won seven straight against the Rams and eight of the last nine.
URI's last win in the series came in 2009.
PC This Season
The Friars are off to a 6-1 start this season, their only loss coming to #14 Minnesota in the second game of the year.
Most recently, PC escaped with an 88-84 win over Rider earlier this week.
Following the game, Ed Cooley said, "I thought we did everything bad."
"This team right now doesn't have the grit, and I mean that, the grit to be a great team. Right now we are too casual in our approach. That may sound a little harsh, but until we are the grittiest team, night in and night out we are going to be in these close games and hope we can come out with a win," said Ed Cooley following the Friars narrow win over Rider.
Saturday's game against Rhode Island will be PC's first true road game of the season.
URI This Season
The Rams enter the game with a record of 4-2 after a win over Brown University earlier this week.
"Defensively we haven't been that good, so this last week we put a lot of focus into that aspect of our game," said Hurley, following the Brown game.
NCAA Tournament Implications
Saturday’s game carries NCAA Tournament implications for both teams.
Entering the game, URI has the 10th best RPI in the country, while the Friars RPI sits at 26.
The RPI rankings measure each team's strength of schedule and is adjusted based on wins and losses and who those wins and losses come against.
“It’s a national game, and it has huge NCAA Tournament ramifications for both teams, and I think that is kind of what we are focused on. It has become a top 50, maybe top 30 RPI game for both teams now. So the team that wins it, we obviously both have NCAA Tournament goals and aspirations, so the team that wins it just got themselves a leg up on getting an at-large bid," said Hurley.
Last year, URI's A-10 Championship victory knocked the Friars into a First Four game, which they lost to the University of Southern California.
Matchup to Watch - Cartwright vs Terrell
The matchup to watch will be between the two point guards, PC's Kyron Cartwright and URI's Jared Terrell.
In the absence of E.C. Matthews, Terrell has stepped up for URI, averaging 19 points per game and shooting 50% from the field.
"I owe it to my teammates. They help me get better in practice and throughout the games, so I owe it to them," said Terrell during URI's media availability on Thursday.
Kyron Cartwright is averaging 12 points and seven assists per game for the Friars so far this season.
"Kyron is playing as well as any point guard in the country, you know he runs the team, he is being more aggressive offensively, of which we need him to be. He is shooting the ball well. He is just playing with a different swag, and if we are going to be a good basketball team, we need him to do that," said Cooley following PC's game against Boston College.
Cartwright currently ranks 12th in the country in assists.
PC X-Factor - Kalif Young/Nate Watson
A big difference maker in the game could be the production the Friars get out of the center position between sophomore Kalif Young and freshman Nate Watson.
In PC's last game against Rider, the two combined for nine points and three rebounds.
"No, it is not a concern. I thought they had some good looks in front of the rim, we missed a couple of layups. They will be fine," Cooley said after the game.
Earlier this week, PC announced that Emmitt Holt would be out for the season, meaning Young and Watson will have to carry the load for the Friars.
"The Holt injury is a major problem. He is the toughest player on the team, the best rebounder, and a post up guy that they don’t have. He is also a good outside guy that can stretch the defense. Plus, you lose the experience," PC radio analyst Joe Hassett told GoLocal prior to the season.
If Young and Watson can combine for a double-double in the game, that would be a huge lift for PC.
URI X-Factor - Stanford Robinson
Since the injury to Matthews, Robinson has been put in the starting lineup.
In his four games as a starter, Robinson poured in 12 and 15 points respectively against Holy Cross and Seton Hall.
However, he has only scored eight and six points against Virginia and Brown respectively.
In the other two games of the season, in which he came off the bench, he poured in 18 points against UNC Asheville, but then only three points on the road against Nevada.
Robinson is averaging 10.3 points per game so far in his second season with URI.
Three key freshmen for URI and PC will see action in their first rivalry game on Saturday. It will be interesting to see how they react to an electric atmosphere.
For the Friars, guard Makai Ashton-Langford and center Nate Watson will see significant time, while Fatts Russell will see significant minutes for the Rams.
Ashton-Langford has averaged six points per game for PC, while Watson has averaged seven points and three rebounds per game.
For the Rams, Fatts Russell is averaging seven points per game and is shooting 42% from the field.
In the Rams last game against Brown, Russell poured in a career-high 20 points to help URI cruise to the win.