Sacramento, CA – Oregon and Rhode Island won their NCAA Tournament opening round games easily and will face off on Sunday at the new Golden 1 Center for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen. Oregon started off the activities here with a 93-77 win over Iona. Rhode Island then took care of Creighton 84-72 in front of 15,883 fans in the second game of the afternoon session.
In the opener Oregon went on a 28-9 run in the final 8:12 of the first half to turn a 29-28 lead into a 55-37 halftime advantage. The Ducks, playing without 6-10 senior Chris Boucher who suffered a knee injury in the Pac-12 Tournament, relied on aggressive play from their guards and a strong game from 6-9 Jordan Bell. Tyler Dorsey, who started aggressively taking the ball to the hoop at the Pac-12 Tournament, continued his strong play, leading the Ducks with 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Bell had a very efficient game, shooting 7-of-8 from the field in scoring 17 points to go along with 12 rebounds.
Dillon Brooks added 18 points and freshman point guard Peyton Pritchard contributed 16 points on 4-of-7 from long distance. Iona’s Deyshonee Much got hot in the second half, nailing five three-pointers after starting the game 0-of-6 from the field. Much’s last three pulled the Gaels to within 86-73 but that was as close as they would get. 6-7 Jordan Washington was impressive in leading Iona with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Washington had 11 of Iona’s first 14 points. Oregon easily won the battle of the boards ending the game with a 41-27 advantage and a 48-24 advantage in points in the paint. The Ducks shot 64 percent in the first half and 56 percent for the game.
Freshman point guard Jeff Dowtin led the Rams to their win over Creighton with 23 points, five rebounds and zero turnovers. Dowtin connected on 10-of-10 from the foul line as did E.C. Matthews (16 points). The Rams were 28-of-31 from the charity stripe and at one point were 28-of-29. It was their best free throw shooting of the season. They only shot 4-of-21 from distance but 6-9 Kuran Iverson (17 points) hit three big ones to keep Creighton at bay. Creighton had a poor shooting game hounded by Rhode Island’s tenacious defense. The Rams held the Bluejays to 30 percent first half shooting.
Creighton’s leading scorer Marcus Foster had 15 points on an inefficient 6-of-19 shooting including 1-of-7 from long distance. 7-0 NBA prospect Justin Patton didn’t look particularly good, having a difficult time finishing inside and fouling out on a silly reach with 3:49 remaining. Patton ended the contest with eight points on 3-of-12 shooting and seven rebounds. Patton has not been as efficient since point guard Maurice Watson Jr. went down for the year. This was Rhode Island’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 1999 and their first NCAA tournament win since their Elite Eight run in 1998.
The match-up between Rhode Island and Oregon may depend on the Rams ability to defend Oregon’s guards and Dillon Brooks off the dribble. The Rams perimeter defense is excellent but Oregon’s guards are physically strong. Other than Jared Terrell the Rams may not have the strength to hold off the Ducks penetration. The battle between the Rams 6-7 Hassan Martin and Oregon’s Bell will be an interesting one to watch with two of the top shot blockers in the nation facing each other. The winner of the game heads to Kansas City to potentially face Louisville, barring a second round upset.
This article was written by Carl Berman, Managing Partner of NetScouts Basketball. You can subscribe to our RSS feed from the upper right corner of our home page, follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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