Rhode Island 76, Ala.-Birmingham 72
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ The University of Rhode Island combined a 15-2 second half run with sharp free-throw shooting down the stretch to turn back the University of Alabama-Birmingham 76-72 on Tuesday.
Cordell Llewellyn led a quintet of URI double-figure scorers with 19 points. Tyson Wheeler netted 17, David Bialski had 13, and both Michael Andersen and Cuttino Mobley added 10. Bialski posted a double-double by grabbing 13 rebounds.
Defense carried both teams through the opening half. The URI (6-17) zone forced UAB to shoot almost exclusively from the perimeter. UAB (12-14) played solid man-to-man and both teams had trouble scoring.
The Rams were 10 for 35 from the floor, but they stayed close by making 11 of 14 free throws. UAB hit only 13 of 34 from the floor, including four from 3-point land. The only consistent shooter was UAB’s Anthony Thomas, who scored 14 of his game-high 24 points during the half.
The Blazers held a 34-32 lead at the intermission.
URI took off at the beginning of the second half, putting together a 15-2 run to take a 47-36 lead at 14:36 to go. But UAB tightened things up late in the half, forcing URI into numerous turnovers.
Three separate times within the final 5 minutes UAB reduced the deficit to just two points. But URI nailed every critical free throw and held on for the win.