Rhode Island (2-6) defeated Vermont 76-66 Saturday for its first victory at the Ryan Center under first-year coach Dan Hurley.
Rhode Island's defense helped the Rams take control of the game in the final 4:31 of the first half. Vermont (4-2) scored just one point during the stretch, a free throw by Brian Voelkel just nine seconds before the half ended.
The Rams maintained a double-digit lead until a late Catamount run in garbage time. Rhode Island led by as many as 22 points before Vermont closed within seven at 68-61 with 58 seconds remaining. Rhode Island pushed the lead back to double digits in the final seconds.
Inside the Box Score and Beyond:
* Freshman forward Mike Aaman scored a career-high 15 points. He had nine points in the final four minutes of the first half to help turn a two-point lead into a 14-point halftime advantage. Aaman was a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line during the run. He entered the game with 14 total points for the season.
In addition to the scoring, Aaman added eight rebounds and two blocked shots. Five of his rebounds came on the offensive end.
* The first half marked the fifth time in the last eight halves of play that the Rams have held their opponent to 25 points or less. * Xavier Munford led the team with 25 points, scoring in double digits for the fourth consecutive game, and the sixth time this season. Munford hit three 3-pointers, marking the third straight game he has made at least three from behind the arc. He has made 14 over his last three games, and has at least one 3-point basket in every game this season.
Joining him in double digits were Aaman (15 points) and Andre Malone (14 points). Malone has scored in double figured five times in the last six games.
* Munford, Malone, Mike Powell, and Nikola Malesevic each hit at least one 3-point shot, as the Rams were 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) from beyond the arc. Rhode Island has made at least four 3-pointers in seven of its eight games thus far.
* Rhode Island continues to take care of the basketball. The Rams did not commit a turnover until the 10:35 mark of the first half, and finished the half with just four miscues. Rhody finished with 12 turnovers, slightly more than the team's average of 10.4 per game this season, which tied it for 16 th nationally.
* Rhode Island was 12-of-14 from the free throw line in the opening half, and finished the game 23-of-35. The 65.7 percent shooting at the line was an improvement for the Rams, who entered the game making just 60.2 percent of their free throws.
* Rhode Island walk-ons Eric Youncofski and Shane Plunkett got into the game in the final minute.