KINGPORT, R.I. –  The North Carolina A&T men’s basketball team had a good first half but couldn’t sustain it long enough for the upset as Rhode Island defeated the Aggies 72-59 Friday night at the Ryan Center.

Sophomore Bruce Beckford led A&T with 14 points and seven rebounds. Senior Lamont Middleton added 13 points and six rebounds, while senior Richaud Pack came off the bench to score 12.

For the second straight game, the Aggies struggled from the free throw line, hitting just 13 of 22 foul shots. The Rams meanwhile, hit 23 of their 35 free throws. Despite the discrepancy in foul shooting, the Aggies battled the Rams to seven ties in the first half.

Waylan Siverand hit one of two free throws with 40 seconds remaining in the first half to give the Aggies a 33-32 halftime lead. The Aggies maintained their one-point advantage six minutes into the second half as Pack knocked down a 3-pointer to give A&T a 38-37 lead.

URI took over from there, aided by a technical foul by A&T freshman Jerome Simmons. The Rams made four straight free throws and got the ball back. Biggie Minnis complemented the foul shot with a layup to give the Rams a 43-38 lead. The Rams completed their 16-0 run with a Mike Aaman layup for a 53-38 lead with 10:51 to play.

A&T never got any closer than 11 the rest of the way. URI was led by E.C. Matthews’ 18 points and six rebounds. Xavier Munford added 13 and Jarrelle Reischel had 12.

The Aggies are not back in action until Nov. 24 when they travel to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech at 2 p.m.