KINGSTON, R.I. (AP) — Stanford Robinson plays pretty good defense. But know this: He can also hit the big shot. He did just that Saturday, a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give No. 24 Rhode Island a 61-58 victory over Duquesne. The Rams (17-3, 9-0) have won 12 in a row and 17 straight against Atlantic 10 Conference opponents.
KINGSTON, R.I. (AP) — Stanford Robinson plays pretty good defense. But know this: He can also hit the big shot.
He did just that Saturday, a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give No. 24 Rhode Island a 61-58 victory over Duquesne. The Rams (17-3, 9-0) have won 12 in a row and 17 straight against Atlantic 10 Conference opponents.
Robinson was averaging 10 points a game. He felt it worked to his advantage that he was not viewed as threat by Duquesne (14-8, 5-4).
"I think people feel I'm a defensive player so they stop playing me," he said. "But I practice that shot every day so I kind of knew a little bit (it was going in)."
A floater off the glass by Duquesne's Eric Williams made it 58-58 with 28.6 seconds left. After a timeout, Jeff Dowtin held the ball before he passed to Robinson in the left corner and the senior nailed it.
"We had exhausted E.C. (Matthews) and Jared (Terrell) a little bit at that point," Rhode Island coach Hurley said. "I think today we were a little bit too much paint, touch and shoot throughout the game. We just didn't share the ball. We're going to look bad on offense when we don't do that. It seemed like whoever had it drove it and shot it.
"I just wanted to get the ball to our best decision-maker who's Jeff. I wanted him to make a good basketball play. He pitched it and Stan had a clean shot and a clean look."
Matthews paced Rhode Island with 20 points and Jared Terrell added 12. Rene Castro-Kennedy had 16 for Duquesne while Mike Lewis contributed 12.
Duquesne coach Keith Dambrott pointed to his team's inability to handle the ball. The Rams, who played man-to-man all game, scored 15 points off 19 Duquesne turnovers.
"You can't make 19 turnovers," Dambrot said. "If we make 10 we win."
Duquesne began the second half on a 9-0 run, which increased its lead to 38-23. Rhode Island then locked up on defense and tied 45-45 on Matthews' layup. Matthews scored 11 of Rhode Island's last 16 points.
"They were rhythm shots," he said. "I was getting down there and they were going in. Once that started happening I didn't want to stop."
Hurley knows things will not get easier.
"We have a huge target on us," he said. "You're playing every two or three days and this is a grind conference. Some games you have to be able to will yourself through it. You have to win ugly sometimes."
Duquesne: The Dukes began play having outrebounded 15 of their previous 21 opponents. They outrebounded Rhode Island 36-24 yet still lost in part because of turnovers. Rhode Island came in averaging almost 17 forced turnovers per game, which ranks 13th nationally.
Rhode Island: The Rams have won 14 consecutive games at the Ryan Center, the longest win streak in the venue's history.
Ten of the last 12 games between Rhode Island and Duquesne have been determined by eight or fewer points. The average score of the previous 11 was Rhode Island 74.2 and Duquesne 72.4.
E.C. Matthews, a redshirt senior, missed the bulk of the 2015-16 season because of a knee injury. This season he is playing like the Ram who earned Third Team All-Conference honors one year ago.
Duquesne: Visits George Washington on Wednesday. The Colonials are next-to-last in the conference.
Rhode Island: Visits Massachusetts on Tuesday. The Rams routed the Minutemen, 73-51, on January 17 at the Ryan Center with Jared Terrell scoring a game-high 24 points.