SACRAMENTO, Calif. â€” With Oregon’s season on the brink of an early NCAA Tournament exit, Tyler Dorsey and Canada’s Dillon Brooks delivered as they have so many times this season in crunch time.
Dorsey hit a contested go-ahead 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 38.4 seconds to play, then E.C. Matthews airballed a long 3 in the waning moments trying to force overtime, and third-seeded Oregon rallied in the second half to beat upstart No. 11 Rhode Island 75-72 on Sunday and reach the Midwest Regional.
Dorsey also tied the game with a 3 with 1:45 remaining on the way to 27 points before Brooks, of Mississauga, Ont., took a charge on the other end for Oregon (31-5).
With Oregon’s season on the brink of an early NCAA Tournament exit, Brooks found his shooting stroke as he typically does and scored 19 points despite a 7-for-20 shooting day. Dorsey made 9 of 10 shots with four 3-pointers.
Toronto’s Dylan Ennis added seven points for the Ducks.
Rhode Island nearly scrapped and hustled its way into the next round, with Stanford Robinson matching his career high of 21 points as the Rams (25-10) had their nine-game winning streak snapped to end the season.
Dorsey missed two free throws with 3:36 left but made up for it.
The Ducks led early behind Dorsey’s fast start, but Rhode Island grabbed momentum late in the first half.
URI closed the first half on a 14-2 run â€” including 7-0 over the final 1:30 with Matthews’ three-point play at 52.6 â€” in the last 3:23.
Robinson grinned from ear to ear after sinking a mid-range jumper at the 14:02 mark of the second half and Rhode Island appeared poised for another upset after stunning Creighton in the first round two days earlier.
The Rams kept crashing the offensive glass to create extra chances. They hit the court for loose balls. But Rhode Island missed a big stat line from star Hassan Martin, who had no points or rebounds playing just 14 minutes because of foul trouble.
Oregon failed to secure key defensive rebounds playing again without injured big man Chris Boucher of Montreal, who tore the ACL in his left knee during the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals.
The Ducks did pull down key offensive rebounds in crunch time.
Rhode Island exhibited the kind of good, old-fashioned hustle fifth-year coach Dan Hurley’s dad taught: Like Kuran Iverson’s putback with 10:53 left and a block of Brooks’ shot moments later on the other end.
Robinson, a transfer from Indiana who sat out last season, responded after being held to two points on 1-for-5 shooting against Creighton. The junior guard had gone just 2 of 9 over his two previous games, but shot 10 for 12 on his biggest stage yet.
Hurley hugged and comforted his distraught players, who captured the Atlantic 10 championship to earn the program’s first NCAA bid in 18 years then won the first NCAA Tournament game by the school since advancing to the 1998 Elite Eight and losing to Stanford.
Rhode Island: The Rams were one of six teams in the round of 32 with a winning streak of nine games or more â€” but missed matching the program’s longest since 10 in a row in 1997-98. … Rhode Island is 5-16 all-time against Pac-12 opponents…. Bobby Hurley wasn’t in the stands as he had to return to host recruits at Arizona State, but coaching father Bob watched proudly. “It’s very difficult to describe,” he said.
Oregon: Dorsey has scored 20 or more points in a career-high five straight games. … Both teams had won once previously, with Oregon taking the previous meeting at Eugene 95-94 on Dec. 7, 1981. … Jordan Bell had 12 rebounds for the Ducks, who have won at least one game in each of the past five NCAA Tournaments.
Oregon advances to play Thursday against seventh-seeded Michigan in the Midwest Regional at Kansas City, Missouri.
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Janie McCauley, The Associated Press