Sunday, February 8, 2009

URI Beats Charlotte, Loses To Temple 68-62, Jimmy Baron Injured

The Rams were able to take care of business last week against Charlotte, by beating them 71-64, but today they weren't as lucky and fell on the road to Temple, 68-62, via ProJo Sports:

A late rally fell short today for the URI basketball team as it fell to Temple 68-62.

The Rams fell behind by as many as 18 early in the second half. Temple dominated play inside, most notably 6-9 forward Lavoy Allen, who had a career high 23 points and 13 rebounds, eight off the offensive glass.

Keith Cothran, making his return after missing five games with a knee injury, led a comeback that saw URI get a close as five. Cothran had 12 points in a five minute span in the middle of the half and had 16 on the day, all in the second half

URI pulled within 66-60 and got the ball back with just over a minute left, but could not score. Marquis Jones was fouled with the score 66-61 with 26 seconds remaining, but missed both free throws.

In addition to Cothran's 16, Jimmy Baron had 13 and Kahiem Seawright 12 for the Rams. Baron played despite injuring his hip in the first four minutes. He was grimacing and clearly favoring his right side the rest of the day.

URI sees an end to its four-game winning streak and the Rams fall to 16-8, 5-4 in the Atlantic 10. Temple moves to 13-9 and 5-3 in the conference.
With this loss, I find it hard to believe that the Rams will be able to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Temple was one of the few decent teams left on URI's A-10 schedule and a team they needed to beat to create some separation with the teams in the top half of the A-10. The Rams still have games against Dayton and Duquesne, but even if they beat those teams it's going to be hard for them to finish any higher than 4th in the A-10. I think at worst they need to get to the finals of the A-10 Tournament if they want an automatic bid or they have to win out the rest of their games and hope that teams like St. Joe's and Dayton start to play poorly, so URI can sneak into second place in the A-10.
If Jim Baron's hip injury lingers, then that could complicate things for the Rams as well. I think the Rams can ill afford to lose Baron who is their best long range shooter. He is nothing special on defense though, so I'm sure that he will be easier to replace on that end of the floor. Either way, I think the Rams would need Baron at 100% to win the A-10 Tournament.

In no way, shape, or form is URI completely out of the NCAA Tournament field, but it's pretty clear to me at least, that they will be a bubble team when selection Sunday rolls around. That's not exactly a bad thing, but it could leave URI fans disappointed if their team is not selected. If Jim Baron's injury lingers, then that could complicate things for the Rams as well

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