Rams Head to Morgantown to Face West Virginia Sunday

Photo Credit: Michael Scott
Photo Credit: Michael Scott

THE BASICS
Rhode Island (5-2) at West Virginia (7-0)
Tip-Off: Sunday, Dec. 1, 2:00 p.m. EST
Live Coverage: Stats | Audio | Stream: Mountaineer TV 
Game Notes 

RHODE ISLAND VS. WEST VIRGINIA - SERIES NOTES

  • Sunday will be the 34th meeting between the programs. 
  • West Virginia leads the series, 20-13.
  • Last season, Rhode Island defeated the Mountaineers, 83-70, at the Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Jeff Dowtin was named the MVP of the game after he had 18 points, seven assists, five rebounds and one steal.Fatts Russell also had 18 points to go with six rebounds,  five assists and three steals. Cyril Langevine (15) and Jermaine Harris (11) also scored in double figures for the Rams. 
  • The teams met every season from 1981 through 1995 when both were part of the Atlantic 10.
  • West Virginia left to become part of the Big East in 1995. It moved to the Big 12 in 2012.
  • Rhode Island and West Virginia are both adept at defending the 3-point arc in the nation. West Virginia ranks 12th in the country in 3-point field goal defense, as opponents shoot just .254 from beyond the arc. Rhode island allows opponents to shoot just .286 from long range, which ranks 67th in the nation. 

RUSSELL STEALING THE SHOW ON DEFENSE

  • Junior Fatts Russell ranks sixth in the nation and second in the Atlantic 10 with 3.29 steals per game.
  • He has at least two steals in every game this season, and has had at least three steals six times on the year.
  • As a freshman, Russell averaged 0.8 steals per game, and then he had 1.8 per game last season.
  • Russell has been dishing the ball well on the offensive end of the floor, averaging 4.9 assists per game, which ranks 74th in the country.
  • He is 46th nationally with a 2.83 assist-to-turnover ratio. 

DOWTIN APPROACHING 400 CAREER ASSISTS

  • Senior Jeff Dowtin has 394 career assists and needs six more to become the sixth player in program history to reach 400.
  • Closest on the list is Dowtin's former teammate, Jarvis Garrett, who ranks sixth with 398 assists (2014-18). 
  • With 14 assists and seven turnovers, Dowtin has a 2-1 assist-to-turnover ratio this season.
  • During his first two seasons from 2016-17 through 2017-18, Dowtin was the only Division I player with 250+ assists and fewer than 65 turnovers.
  • Rhody is 28-6 when Dowtin has five or more assists.
  • Dowtin has seven career games with nine or more assists.
  • Rhody is 6-1 when Dowtin has nine or more assists. The lone loss was to Duke in the 2018 NCAA Championship. 

TOPPIN, LONG PROVIDING BOOST OFF THE BENCH

  • Rhode Island freshmen Jacob Toppin and Mekhi Long have been active when called upon this season.
  • Toppin has scored in double figures three times and is averaging 6.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
  • The Brooklyn native is averaging 17.3 minutes per game.
  • Of his 29 rebounds, 14 have come on the offensive end.
  • Long is averaging 9.3 minutes per game, but he has logged at least 10 minutes off the bench in three of the last four games.
  • Last time out, he had three steals and two rebounds in a career-high 16 minutes.
  • Despite limited minutes, Long has contributed at least two rebounds in each of his last four outings.