Rhode Island skips by La Salle, 59-56

PHILADELPHIA (AP) E.C. Matthews scored 21 points to help lead Rhode Island to a 59-56 victory over La Salle on Saturday.

Rhode Island (20-7, 12-4) started the day in a four-way tie with Dayton, VCU and Davidson for first place in the Atlantic 10 with one week remaining in the regular season. Additionally, its 12-4 conference record is its best start in school history.

The Rams held a 36-24 lead at the break but La Salle battled back to cut the deficit to one with 3:55 left on a Jerrell Wright layup. That was the final field goal of the game for either team, however, as Matthews hit 3 of 4 of his final four free throws and Rhode Island clamped down defensively.

Wright scored 23 points for La Salle (15-14, 7-9), which had an opportunity to tie the game with six seconds left, but Jordan Price missed from downtown.

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