Rushed Reactions: #3 Oregon 75, #11 Rhode Island 72Posted by rtmsf on March 19th, 2017
RTC is providing coverage from start to finish of the NCAA Tournament for the next three weeks.
- Come Aboard the Brooks & Dorsey Train. Everyone knows that Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey mean everything to the Ducks’ offense, but from about the 14-minute mark through the end, EVERY Oregon possession went through one of those two guys. And they came through. When Oregon was down by six in the mid-second half, it was Brooks who put together his own personal 9-0 run to regain the lead. Later, when it appeared that the Ducks were cooked after some missed free throws and a bad shot, it was Dorsey who hit back-t0-back three pointers to both tie the game (with 1:47 remaining) and win it (with 0:37 left). The two players combined for 46 of the Ducks’ 75 total points, and they needed every bit of it.
- The Loss of Chris Boucher Was Apparent. At the risk of Debbie Downing what was certainly a gutty win by Oregon, it was clear as day how much the Ducks miss injured center Chris Boucher — at one point in the first half, Rhode Island had converted 16 of 20 shots inside the three-point arc. The Rams repeatedly got to the basket for layups or short jumpers, and they hardly ever missed. That 80 percent figure dropped to a more reasonable 65 percent by the end of the game, but it put so much pressure on Oregon to stay in contact — largely through Brooks and Dorsey — that you wonder how they can possibly manage his loss any better going forward.
- Rhode Island is Full of Tough, Tough Kids. Call it the Northeastern swagger of whatever you like, but it was crystal clear today that the ferocity and grit of head coach Danny Hurly has rubbed off on his players. They didn’t care that they were playing 3,000 miles away from home in Pac-12 country against a Pac-12 team. They expected to win and they were devastated when they didn’t. For much of the night, frankly, Rhode Island was the better team with the superior game plan. But they didn’t have a Tyler Dorsey, and that’s ultimately what made the difference. Hurley seems tailor-made for this kind of underdog program, but you can be certain he’ll get some calls from power conference teams very soon.
Star of the Game. Tyler Dorsey, Oregon. It’s funny because it was Brooks who decided to put the team on his shoulders to allow for the Ducks’ second-half comeback today, but Dorsey’s 27 points, five rebounds and threes assists were simply too much to ignore. Not to mention that he hit the back-breaking threes that effectively won the game.
Sights and Sounds. At halftime of this game, the operators running the 1 Golden Center jumbotron decided to check in on the other NCAA Tournament games going on around the country. One of those games happened to be the exciting one-point battle in Greenville between North Carolina and Arkansas. After showing a couple minutes of mostly dead-ball action, the jumbotron abruptly cut away to a massive URI symbol (presumably for the cheerleaders coming on to the floor). That decision was met with an arena full of boos, as fans wanted to see the end of the other game. The compromise that was almost immediately instituted was to picture-in-picture the game for the satisfaction of the fans.
What’s Next. Oregon moves on to the Midwest Regional in Kansas City, where it will face #1 seed Kansas in its own back yard. Rhode Island heads home with its head high after winning its first NCAA Tournament game in 19 years and knowing that it represented itself very well this weekend in Sacramento.