Well….that sucked. Just a straight up bad loss. After leading for 30 out of 40 minutes, URI went ice cold on offense and couldn’t hit water if they fell off a boat.
Both teams were hampered in the first half by fouls. The best player for each team (Braswell for Charlotte and Munford for URI) spent significant time on the bench with 2 fouls each. URI seemed to benefit from that by being able to drive inside with Braswell’s size on the bench. Powell and Malone seemed to be able to carry the offense with Munford on the bench and took a one-point lead into the half.
In the second half, everything went wrong. Malone’s hot hand went cold, Munford (who spent the last 12 minutes of the first half on the bench) just could not get back into a rhythm shooting.
The single biggest factor was the rebounding disparity. Charlotte had 45 rebounds to URI’s 25. Charlotte was PLUS TWENTY in rebounds. We see it time and time again. URI gets dominated by teams that have more size than they do. Teams that are bigger and more physical (especially in the paint) keep giving URI fits. URI is certainly quicker than these teams but being quick does jack-shit down low when the defense clogs the lane. Quickness only helps when getting free from your defender out on the perimeter – which URI actually did (that is how Malone was able to get, and make, those wide open 3’s in the first half).
Can’t really say much more. In college basketball, the absolute key to success is to have a play-making PG and a dominant big-man. URI is relying too much on the swing man type of player (the SG/SF hybrid) who is between 6’3″ and 6’6″. This gives them the versatility of good perimeter shooters who can also slash to the basket but it also leaves them incredibly vulnerable on the boards. Getting outrebounded by a canyon-esque margin is the sole reason for their 10 loses this year.
If they want to follow the Philadelphia 76ers and stockpile swingmen, they need at least one more dynamic player like Munford. Right now, as Munford goes, so goes URI’s offense. They just cannot rely on Malone, Malesevic, or Powell on a night in and night out basis.