Washington Football

Powell scores 18 to lead Rhode Island by SMU 72-50

Powell scores 18 to lead Rhode Island by SMU 72-50

KINGSTON, R.I. (AP) Mike Powell made 3 of 3 from 3-point range, 7 of 7 from the foul line and scored 18 points to lead Rhode Island to a 72-50 victory against SMU on Saturday.

Andre Malone had 15 points, Nikola Malesevic 12 and Xavier Munford 11 for the Rams (3-8), who had been 1-3 at home.

Jalen Jones and Ryan Manuel scored 14 apiece for SMU (8-2), which had won three in a row.

Holding a 36-35 advantage 4:08 into the second half, Rhode Island scored six consecutive points and built the lead to 57-43 with 8:57 remaining on 3-pointers from Malesevic and Powell.

SMU trailed 29-27 at the break in a close first half in which the biggest lead was six points, 26-20 in the Rams' favor with 3:11 left.

SMU turned the ball over 22 times to Rhode Island's 11, and the Rams had 12 steals.

Quick Links

Washington punter Tress Way says he owes Ron Rivera a thank you for removing ping pong table

Washington punter Tress Way says he owes Ron Rivera a thank you for removing ping pong table

In an offseason of change in Washington, one small move that did have an impact on the locker room was Ron Rivera's removal of the wildly-popular ping pong table.

The new head coach's decision to eliminate table tennis was just another example of his desire to establish a new, more serious culture within the organization. Though it turned some fans' heads, it was something that avid players like long snapper Nick Sundberg respected.

Punter Tress Way, another dedicated ping pong player, was also understanding of the decision by Rivera. In fact, while he'll miss working on his craft with the paddle, he says he actually needs to thank Ron Rivera.

"I think I even need to do a hand-written letter or just a person-to-person conversation," Way said during a Washington Football Team virtual happy hour. "I owe him a thank you.”

Why exactly is Way so thankful? Well, it turns out that prior to the removal of the table, he was in jeopardy of losing his title as the best ping pong player on the roster.

After dominating other players day in and day out, Way has turned his passion into a skill that put him at the top of the locker room rankings.

“As a specialist, I punt and work out, play some ping pong after practice with the guys," Way said. "When the table was removed I was number one in the locker room.”

RELATED: SUNDBERG RESPECTS RIVERA'S DECISION WITH PING PONG TABLE

But, toward the end, Way became nervous that others were coming for his crown. Tired of losing to him, the punter explained that some talented individuals were preparing to take him down when they returned for the 2020 season.

"Some of the best athletes I’ve ever seen in my life decided at the end of last year that they were going to start playing some ping pong," Way said.

Then, Rivera swooped in and allowed Way to retire on top.

“I think coach may have bailed me out," Way said. "I think because he removed it I get to walk out number one and so I think I owe him a sincere thank you.”

Not having ping pong will surely be an adjustment for Way. As a punter, getting in some reps on the table was part of his daily routine, and he was clearly very good at it. He still has one at his home, and is willing to have challengers come take him on in a socially distant manner.

But, when it comes to the locker room in Ashburn, Va., he gets to be remembered as one of the best to pick up the paddle. That makes the loss a little less tough.

“I’m immortalized as the number one ping pong player in Washington," Way said. "So I don’t mind it.”

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TALK PODCAST

Stay connected to the team with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM NEWS:

Quick Links

Troy Brown Jr. starting at point guard for first time in his career against Bucks

Troy Brown Jr. starting at point guard for first time in his career against Bucks

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks had indicated Troy Brown Jr. would start at least one game at point guard before their season came to a close in Orlando and it turns out Tuesday will be that game. 

Brown will start against the Milwaukee Bucks alongside Jerome Robinson, Isaac Bonga, Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant. They will face off against the top team in the East and the NBA's best defense, but Milwaukee will be missing several key players, including point guard Eric Bledsoe.

Still, it is a good test for Brown, who is in his second season after joining the Wizards as a first round pick.

"He's going to be running the show. I'm looking forward to it. He's excited about it," Brooks said. "He's been prepping for it a little bit with the point forward role that he's had down here. It's another good reason why we're fortunate to be down here."

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

Brooks expounded on that last point. This is a perfect example, he says, of the value the Wizards see in being involved in the NBA's restart. They were the final team of the 22 invited by the league based on record.

"It has given us an opportunity to explore and experiment and otherwise during the season it would be hard to do that," Brooks said.

RELATED: WIZARDS NEED TO TAKE MORE THREE AGAINST BUCKS

Brooks added that next year will be different with John Wall back from his long rehab from Achilles surgery. But there is no question this is a good chance for Brown to show what he can do at a position he says he feels most comfortable playing.

And since Wall will likely be limited at first from back-to-backs and playing entire games, there is reason to believe they will need three point guards next season. Brown could at the very least be a wing most of the time and slide over to the point guard spot when needed.

On Tuesday, he will get to audition for that role.

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: