Former power visits Utes

first_imgE-mail: [email protected] Less than a decade ago, Rhode Island was a national power of sorts, making it to the Elite Eight in 1998, the same year Utah made it to the NCAA finals. Even as recently as two seasons ago, the Rams won 20 games and made it to the second round of the NIT.These days the Rams are a just a shadow of their old selves. Last year they finished just 6-22 and are picked near the bottom of the Atlantic 10 Conference in most preseason polls this year.Tonight at the Huntsman Center, the Rams will take on Utah in the second game for both teams. The Utes are coming off a 15-point victory over Texas State on Friday night, while the Rams are 1-0, after beating something called Sacred Heart 56-50 Saturday night.Ute coach Ray Giacoletti is less concerned with his opponent than he is with his own team. He was displeased with the Utes’ effort Friday night, saying they didn’t improve from their exhibition game earlier in the week and that his team easily could have lost to the inferior Southland Conference team.Giacoletti praised the play of some of his first-year players such as Johnnie Bryant, Shaun Green and Luke Nevill. He wasn’t as pleased with some of his veteran players, such as Bryant Markson, who had five turnovers, all in the first five minutes; Chris Jackson, who had some defensive lapses; and Jonas Langvad, who struggled in most aspects of his zero-point, two-rebound, two-turnover effort.”We were doing things we haven’t done for 25 days of practice,” Giacoletti said. “We need to focus on the things we can control. We’re just trying to get better every day.”Giacoletti is making one change for tonight’s game, inserting Green into the starting lineup in place of Langvad. He likes the “little things” Green does and was impressed with his stat line Friday night that included three steals, three assists and three rebounds in addition to five points in 27 minutes.The Rams are led by senior forward Jamaal Wise, who missed last season as a medical redshirt. In last week’s opener he led the way with 13 points and made a key block with 15 seconds to play and his team up by four.Other expected starters for the Rams are senior forward Terrance Mack, senior center Jon Clark, senior guard Tyreses Sullivan and sophomore guard Will Daniels.UTE NOTES: The Utes have met Rhode Island twice previously, winning 84-72 in an NIT second-round game at home in 1992 and losing 70-63 in 1998 at the Great Eight Tournament in Chicago. In the ’98 game, the Utes were led by Andre Miller, who was named tournament MVP despite the loss, after scoring 28 points. Heralded freshman Lamar Odom scored 15 for the Rams, who were coached by Jim Harrick . . . The Utes play their first road game of the season Saturday night in Ogden against Weber State. Tipoff is 7 p.m. Then the Utes play another instate game Wednesday at home against Utah State . . . Utah’s Giacoletti has been named the 2005 Playboy Magazine National Coach of the Year as part of Playboy’s Preseason College All-America Basketball Team . . . Some Utes were at the Delta Center Monday night to watch former Ute Andrew Bogut play for the Milwaukee Bucks against the Utah Jazz. Utes on the air Rhode Island (1-0) at Utah (1-0)Today, 7 p.m.TV: NoneRadio: 700 AM last_img

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