No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 7 Michigan
When: 4 p.m. Thursday TV: CBS
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Once the game ended and Oregon had narrowly advanced with a hard-fought NCAA Tournament win, Tyler Dorsey considered his two missed free throws with 3:36 left and how there might have been no celebrations at all.
Instead, Dorsey delivered two clutch 3-pointers to send the Ducks back to the Sweet 16 for a second straight year and the third time in five years.
Dorsey hit a contested go-ahead 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 38.4 seconds to play, then E.C. Matthews air-balled a long 3-point attempt 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 semifinals.
“During the game I had to let it go. There was two minutes left, I dropped them and I had to keep playing, and we kept playing and kept fighting and hit the glass and got crucial offensive rebounds,” Dorsey said. “I just hit some big shots.”
With Oregon’s season on the brink, Dorsey and Dillon Brooks came through in the clutch as they have so many times this season.
Dorsey also tied the game with a 3-pointer with 1:45 remaining on the way to 27 points before Brooks took a charge on the other end for Oregon (31-5).
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.
But it was not as good early. After Dylan Ennis’ jawing earned the Ducks a warning, Brooks received a first-half technical foul — and Oregon coach Dana Altman did not like it one bit.
“Unacceptable,” the coach said. “I told him after the game, ‘How would you have felt in a close ballgame like this if that was the difference?’ … I was disappointed.”
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.
The Ducks led early behind Dorsey’s fast start, but Rhode Island grabbed momentum late in the first half.
The Rams closed the first half on a 14-2 run — including 7-0 over the final 1:30 with Matthews’ three-point play at 52.6 — in the last 3:23.
Robinson helped the bench contribute 30 points. He grinned from ear to ear after sinking a midrange 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 while playing just 14 minutes because of foul trouble.
Oregon committed 14 turnovers and failed to secure key defensive rebounds playing again without injured big man Chris Boucher, who tore the ACL in his left knee during the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals.
“That defense we faced is as good as any defense we faced all year,” Altman said. “We were very fortunate today with our turnovers to get that done.”