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Daniels' 28 points leads Rhode Island past Georgia Southern

Dec 30, 2007 - 3:45 AM CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (Ticker) -- Luckily for Rhode Island, Will Daniels picked a perfect time to record his career high.

Daniels scored 28 points as No. 25 Rhode Island held on for an 85-80 victory over Georgia Southern in the final of the Islander Invitational on Saturday.

Kahiem Seawright scored 13 points and Parfait Bitee and Lamonte Ulmer each had 11 for the Rams, who improved to 13-1 for the first time since they began 16-1 in 1946-47.

Daniels, who entered this contest as Rhode Island's leading scorer at 18.2 points per game, needed every point against the Eagles to help secure the win.

"Will plays with a lot of energy, and he was big for us when we needed him," Rhode Island coach Jim Baron said.

The Rams led, 45-34, at halftime as the 6-8 Daniels had 12 points at the break.

However, a layup by Antoine Johnson cut Georgia Southern's deficit to 63-57 at the 11:48 mark. The Eagles further closed the gap when Trumaine Pearson made two free throws to get within 74-72 with 3:30 left.

Daniels, who connected on 9-of-22 shots from the field and 9-of-12 free throws, upped Rhode Island's advantage back to four with two free throws with three minutes left. The senior then made two more from the stripe with 32 seconds left to make it 82-76.

"We never lose confidence as a team," said Daniels, the tournament MVP after scoring 46 points in two wins. "When you're ranked as one of the top 25 teams in the country, losing confidence in yourself is not something that ever comes into consideration."

Daniels also split a pair from the free-throw line with nine ticks on the clock to give the Rams an 83-78 lead.

Jimmy Baron, who scored 10 points, finished the scoring when he nailed two free throws with five-tenths of a second left for Rhode Island, which shot 44 percent (28-of-64).

Matt Fields scored 18 points and Julian Allen chipped in 13 for Georgia Southern (9-3), which shot 41 percent (28-of-68) and has dropped five in a row to ranked teams dating to the 1997-98 season.

"We just dug ourselves too big a hole against a team as good as Rhode Island," Georgia Southern coach Jeff Price said. "When you're missing shots like we were, you've got to get stops on the defensive end. If you're missing shots and not getting stops, then that's a bad combination."