Games against three Big East teams highlight what is shaping up to be a challenging 2020-21 season for the URI men’s basketball team.

Rhody will host Seton Hall in the first game of a home-and-home series, play Providence at the Dunk in the next installment of the in-state rivalry and play Marquette at Mohegan Sun in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off.

URI announced its home non-conference schedule this week. Rhody is still finalizing its non-conference road schedule. The Rams also will have nine home Atlantic 10 contests, which will be announced later this month.

The Pirates come to Kingston Dec. 1. Both teams are coming off of 21-9 campaigns in which each finished third in the final standings of their respective conferences.

Boise State will come to the Ryan Center on Dec. 6 as part of the inaugural year of the Mountain West-Atlantic 10 Challenge Series. Boise State went 20-12 and reached the semifinals of the Mountain West championship last season.

The Rams are scheduled to open the 2020-21 season at the Ryan Center against Drexel on Nov. 10. The game will be part of a doubleheader with the URI women’s team, which will host in-state rival Providence.

URI will open the Hall of Fame Tip-Off with a home contest against Lehigh and, depending on the outcome of the Marquette game, will finish against either Minnesota or UCF.

The schedule was difficult to put together because of the pandemic and it’s still unclear if all games will be played and if they’ll be played in front of fans.

“We have a responsibility to be prepared for all possible situations in what is a historic time in our lives,” Thorr Bjorn said in a statement. “The process has been challenging for everyone, and there may be unknown challenges still in front of us. We are planning for a regular start to the year. If changes are called for because of circumstances beyond our control, we will adjust accordingly.”

2020-21 Men’s Basketball Home Schedule

Nov. 10 - Drexel

Nov. 13 - Quinnipiac

Nov. 18 - Lehigh

Dec. 1 - Seton Hall

Dec. 6 - Boise State

Dec. 22 - Brown

URI football continues to rebuild offense

With Patrick Murphy calling the signals, Holy Cross had the top offensive unit in the Patriot League last season. But the Crusaders were not a one-trick pony. They were tops in the league in rushing offense but also first in passing efficiency and yards per completion.

Now the offensive coordinator at URI, Murphy hopes to bring that kind of balanced offense to Kingston. Last year, the Rams passed for 3,555 yards but ran for under 100 yards a game, compared to nearly 190 at Holy Cross.

QB Vito Priore is gone, opting to transfer, and receivers Aaron Parker (1,224 yards) and Isaiah Coulter (1,039 yards) are trying to catch on in the NFL. Priore passed for all but two of URI’s 24 touchdowns through the air and the wide receiver cousins caught 71 percent of those TDs.

So first order of business for Murphy seems to be rebuilding the passing game. The backup last year was Darius Perrantes, who the coaching staff raved about but was beaten out for the starting job by Priore. Playing in just three games, he retained his freshman status while completing 53 percent of his throws.

Perrantes got some added competition last week when Brandon Robinson announced on Twitter that he would be transferring to URI from Liberty, where he was the number 2 signal-caller and played in five games as a freshman. The 6-4, 215-pound New Jersey native is considered a pro-style quarterback who occasionally runs.  His other offer coming out of Irvington High School was from Norfolk State.

None of the other returning QBs have been able to get on the field. They will be joined by three-star freshman Jared Heywood, who like Perrantes hails from California.

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