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Rhode Island Falling Apart Right On Q? Not So Fast....

Mike RongioneContributor IJune 26, 2016

As I watched Rhode Island fall to St. Louis 62-57 wednesday night, I could only think not again as a long time URI fan. But something tells me things will be different the 3rd time around. Back in 2007-2008. The Rams hit the ground running. They won on the road at Syracuse and even were ranked as high as #21 in the AP Poll. They stood at 20-4 at that point. Their overall record at the end of the season was 21-12. They lost 8 of their last 9 games. Six of those games were at home. Including on senior day to Charlotte. The same team they would play 4 days later in the opening round of the Atlantic Ten tournament. A game in which they led pretty much the whole way. As the game was dead locked at 73 the Rams were holding the ball for the last shot. Untill they were called for a illegal screen. Seconds later the rams commited a shooting foul with 0.02 seconds remaining. The 49ers of Charlotte won the game 75-73. The Rams left Atlantic City heart broken and losing 7 of their last 8 to that point, when just a year earlier they made a magical run to the championship game in the same building with pretty much the same exact team. They got new life when they were invited to the N.I.T. They went on the road to Creighton. As a 7 1/2 point underdog. Well for about 35 minutes this looked like the Rhode Island team of old as they dominated taking a 17 point lead late into the 2nd half. Creighton won 74-73, as they hit a 3 with around 4 seconds left to pull off the magical comeback, which was really only fitting for the Rams to end their season that way. A horrible way for Will Daniels and Parfait Bitee and Joe Mbang to go out as seniors. 

For the 2008-2009 season much wasn't expected from the Rams.  But that wouldn't last long. After winning their first game of the year 76-74 aganist Brown. The Rams went on the road to face Duke. This game was very early in the season, and on a sunday in which the NFL was still going on. Which is why it didn't get the press that it deserved. But this was one of the greatest games of the season. Rams guard Jimmy Baron put on a JJ Redick type performance in Cameron Indoor. He went 8-10 from behind the arc. He finished with 24 points. The rams held a lead in this one as much as 12 points. As the Blue Devils were in complete shock. But another late Ram collapse led to Duke escaping with a 82-79 win. But after the game, even with the lose the Rams had people turning their heads when they saw the final score. Later on towards the end of the season the Rams went on a huge 6 game winning streak, including a buzzer beater win vs Dayton. This was the same time the year before where they had fell apart. as they stood at 22-10 with one game remaining at home vs Umass on senior day. Many at that time had them on the Bubble. A win vs Umass to end the season would of helped them alot according to Espns bracket expert Joe Lunardi. This was the same Umass team they had beat on the road earlier in the season by 12. Well the Rams for the 2nd straight year on senior day came out flat in front of a packed house. But a great comeback led mostly by senior guard and coaches son Jimmy Baron helped them take the lead 71-70 with 6 seconds remaining. Untill.....

Just another heartbreaker to add to the list. There NCAA Tournaments took a huge hit. But they still had a bit of life, because they still ended up as the #2 seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament. A win or two would give them a great chance at the tournament. But for the 2nd straight year in a row their trip to AC ended before you knew it. As they lost to Duquense 78-74. The same Duquesne team they had beat 11 days earlier on the road. It was another trip to the N.I.T and another road game. They ended up beating Niagara in the opening round 68-62. A game in which was a dog fight. They then traveled to happy valley and took on Penn State. A team in which they beat earlier in the season. Well this was all Penn State from the tip. The Rams made some runs to make it a game in the 2nd half but  ended their season with a 83-72 lose. Jimmy Baron and Kareem Seawright ended their great careers on a sour note.

Two seasons in which had so much promise, just fell completley apart.

Now finally to this season. The Rams have just lost their 3rd game in a row after a 19-3 start. They have 4 games remaining. After being a lock for the tournament just a week ago, the Rams find themselves back on the bubble. Here is why I think this year is different. Coach Jim Baron Sr has 3 seniors who are starters. They have been here before and have been through the fire. Have they learned from their mistakes? I think so. I think you will see this team wins its last 4 games. Which includes games at Umass to end the year and at St. Bonaventure which is Head Coach Jim Barons old team. And they have another tough game on Senior Day aganist another team on the Bubble in Charlotte. The Rams have not won on Senior Day since 2005-2006. Look for Keith Cothran and Lamonte Ulmer, two seniors to come up big for the Rams, as Coach Jim Baron will finally get to the Dance...

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