Rhode Island races to double-digit advantage at halftime of A-10 championship

Doug Brooks (5) looks to pass the ball against Rhode Island Rams guard E.C. Matthews (0) during the first half of the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship game at the PPG Paints Arena. (Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

By PAUL GOTHAM

PITTSBURGH, PA — E.C. Matthews and Jared Terrell paced an early run, and the Rhode Island Rams took a 40-27 halftime lead over the VCU Rams in the finals of the Atlantic 10 championship Sunday at PPG Paints Arena.

Matthews, who connected on all four of his three-point attempts in the semi-finals, hit his first of three triples to get Rhode Island on the board. Terrell nailed a trey when teammate Jeff Dowtin found him on the break. Kuran Iverson found the range from long distance, and Matthews scored on a drive to give URI a 15-4 lead.

Hassan Martin punctuated an 11-2 run with a slam. URI had its largest lead of the half, 29-12.

VCU’s Doug Brooks connected on two of four three-point attempts in the half. The senior guard sparked a 6-1 spurt with a trey. Jordan Burgess converted one of two free throws to cut URI’s margin to 10 at 31-21.

Terrell sandwiched a Brooks three-point play to close the stanza, and URI took a 40-27 lead going into the locker room.

Matthews led all scorers with 11. Terrell has 10.

Brooks has nine for VCU.

URI, which hit 12 of 20 three-point attempts in their win over Davidson on Saturday, connected on 6 of 13 in the first half.

URI outscored VCU 6-0 on fast break points.

Rhode Island won the only regular season meeting between the two teams, 69-59.

URI is looking for its first A-10 championship since 1999.

VCU, making its fifth straight finals appearance, won the 2015 title.

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