Andre Berry scored 18 points and Fatts Russell added 14 that included three 3-pointers in a crucial late-game stretch as No. 25 Rhode Island came from 11 points down in the second half to beat St. Joseph’s 90-87 on Saturday afternoon in an Atlantic-10 Conference tournament semifinal at the Capitol One Arena in Washington, D.C.
Rhode Island, the No. 1 seed, will meet Davidson in the A-10 final on Sunday. The Rams split their two meetings with the Wildcats during the regular season, winning the most recent contest 63-61.
The Rams (25-6) roared back by crashing the glass, turning 19 offensive rebounds into 21 second-chance points, and by riding Russell’s hot streak from beyond the arc.
Jeff Dowtin added 16 points and 10 assists for Rhode Island while E.C. Matthews hit for 14 and Jared Terrell tallied 13 for the Rams.
Shavar Newkirk led the Hawks with 18 points. Nick Robinson added 16, James Demery scored 14, Pierfrancesco Oliva and Anthony Longpre poured in 13 points each, and Taylor Funk tallied 11 for St. Joseph’s (16-16).
St. Joseph’s did just about everything right in the first half as it shot 56 percent from the floor (including hitting 6 of 12 3-pointers) and outrebound the Rams 20-18 in building a 47-40 lead at halftime.
The Hawks never trailed and were led by Longpre’s 11 points in the half and 10 by Newkirk while building as much as a nine-point advantage.
Rhode Island shot just 41 percent and stayed in the game thanks to Berry’s 14 points and Terrell’s nine at the break.
The Rams used an 11-3 run to take their first lead of the game, at 73-71, on two free throws by Cyril Langevine with 6:15 to play and the two teams traded the lead through the next three minutes.
— Field Level Media