OR getting huge lift from Tyler Dorsey at the best possible time

Posted March 21, 2017

The Rams displayed more intensity while still playing with poise in the opening minutes, calmly running their offense and furiously contesting shots at the defensive end.

Then, with 38.4 seconds left, Dorsey did it again.

Dillon Brooks isn't the only OR player with a knack for late-game magic. After jumping out to an early lead, the Ducks fell behind the Rams, trailing by eight at the break and by as many as ten in the second half. And they have a former blue chip recruit in sophomore shooting guard Tyler Dorsey, who scored 24 points in Oregon's 93-77 rout of Iona in the first round Friday.

The Rhode Island Rams (25-9) are coming from an 84-72 win over Creighton in which Jeff Dowtin scored 23 points in 6-for-8 shooting from the field and 10-for-10 from the free throw line.

One would think OR would be ahead after winning the first-half rebounding battle 18-13, but Rhode Island took a 46-38 advantage into the half.

The spread isn't too great here, which makes me nervous about going with Rhode Island, but there is something about the Rams I like. OR has taken 24 of 32 (75 percent) catch-and-shoot opportunities unguarded, per Synergy Sports, scoring 1.08 points per shot. "We're getting better and better each year and Rhode Island is just getting started", said E.C. Matthews. At 4:51 Brooks canned a 3-pointer giving the Ducks a 68-66 lead but the drama wasn't over yet.

The Ducks needed every bit of it as they trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half.

Brooks started the rally by sinking three free throws after being fouled attempting a 3-pointer.

OR suddenly was very cool at the charity stripe as Dylan Ennis had two freebies to shoot but he missed the first one of two but the score was then 72-69 and 2:01 left in the game. Rhode Island responded with a mini-surge of its own, but Dorsey responded, first with a game-tying 3-pointer after a pair of Jordan Bell offensive rebounds and then with his ice-cold game victor.

Tied at 72 with 1:09 left.

OR will face MI in the Sweet-16 on Thursday in Kansas City, Miss.

OR only had Dorsey and Brooks in double-figures though Bell led the way in rebounding with 12 and also had two blocked shots. Instead, Stanford Robinson fired up a 3 with 26 seconds to go and missed.

Rhode Island shot 50.8 percent and made just 6 of 22 from beyond the arc.