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Men’s basketball earns signature victory with win over Dayton


By Jake Brown Staff

Rhode Island Starters
Leggett, Freeman, Carey, Martin, Tchikou

Dayton Starters
Camara, Brea, Holmes II, Amzil, Sharavjamts

How it Happened
Rhode Island’s strong guard play powered the Rams to a 75-70 victory over Dayton Wednesday, as Ishmael LeggettBrayon Freeman and Jalen Carey combined for 58 points.

Dayton (13-8, 5-3 Atlantic 10) hit the Rams early, using an 11-0 run to build a quick 14-4 lead. The lead grew to as many as 11 points at 22-11 following a Malachi Smith fastbreak layup. Rhode Island (7-13, 3-5 A-10) came back with a vengeance, rallying around its defense. Holding the Flyers to just two made field goals in the back end of the half, the Rams closed the half on a 21-5 run. Freeman had eight points during the burst, while Leggett had five and Abdou Samb added four. Rhody went into the half holding a 32-27 lead.

Riding the momentum heading into the second half, Rhody continued to put their foot on the gas. Capitalizing on their chances early and often on both sides of the floor, the Rams used an 11-3 run to extend their lead to 13 after a putback layup from Malik Martin made the score 43-30 with 15:28 to go.

Dayton halted the run with an 8-0 sport that featured back-to-back 3-pointers by Kobe Elvis and Daron Holmes II. Holmes later cut the lead to 44-40 with a layup with 12:13 to go.

However, a barrage of Rhode Island 3-pointers built the cushion back to double digits. Freeman hit m a cushion, with two of them coming from Freeman and another from Brandon Weston. An Alex Tchikou dunk pushed the lead to 13 points at 57-44 with 9:02 to go.

The Flyers continued to find ways to stay in the game. Guards Malachi Smith and Kobe Elvis spearheaded a rally that trimmed the Rhody advantage down to as little as three points in the final minute. However, Rhode Island held on, hitting six free throws in the final 71 seconds to secure the victory.

Inside the Box Score

  • Rhode Island was again excellent at the free throw line, shooting 23-of-26 as a team (88 percent).
  • Sophomore Ishmael Leggett was a perfect 11-for-11 at the line as part of his 25-point performance.
  • Leggett also had six rebounds and three assists.
  • Sophomore Brayon Freeman had 21 points, six rebounds, four steals and two assists.
  • He was 5-of-11 from 3-point range.
  • Redshirt junior Jalen Carey had 12 points, eight rebounds while shooting 4-of-5 from both the floor and the free throw line.
  • Redshirt sophomore Alex Tchikou finished the game with six points, three rebounds, one steal and a block.
  • Redshirt freshman Abdou Samb tallied four points, two rebounds, one assist, and a block.
  • Despite being at a size disadvantage, the Rams still outrebounded the Flyers, 32-26.
  • The victory was Archie Miller‘s first against Dayton, the program he coached from 2011-17. He now has at least one win against every Atlantic 10 team except Loyola Chicago, which he has not faced.

What’s Next
Rhode Island hosts La Salle Saturday, Jan. 28. Game time is 2 p.m. on ESPN+.