Not only did Rhode Island drop its first game of the season Monday night, the Rams also lost one of their most important players.
E.C. Matthews, a senior guard, will be sidelined 4-to-6 weeks due to a fractured left wrist, according to multiple reports. It’s the second time in his career that Matthews suffered a significant injury in the season’s opening week after he tore his ACL in Rhode Island’s 2015-16 opener that cost him an entire season.
The preseason first-team all-Atlantic 10 pick put up 18 points, three rebounds and an assist in Monday’s loss to Nevada in which he played 30 minutes.
His loss is significant for the Rams, who are the favorite to win the A-10 crown this season. Rhode Island plays a rather difficult non-conference slate that includes games against Seton Hall, Providence and Alabama that Matthews is sure to miss with his announced timetable, plus a game against Florida Gulf Coast before opening conference play against George Mason on Dec. 10, which would be on the far end of the potential time Matthews is expected to miss. Matthews’ absence may not cost the Rams a conference title, but those non-conference games are huge seeding opportunities.
Jared Terrell and Stanford Robinson will likely be called upon to pick up the backcourt slack in Matthews’ absence.