Rhode Island Starters
Matthews, Dowtin, Robinson, Terrell, Berry
James, McNeace, Young, McGusty, Doolittle
How it Happened
Seventh-seeded Rhode Island (26-7) came out victorious in a back-and-forth, overtime battle, defeating 10th-seeded Oklahoma 83-78. The Rams overcame a seven-point second-half deficit and hit six consecutive free throws in the final 1:03 to advance to the NCAA Round of 32. It marks the first time in program history that Rhody advances in the NCAA tournament in back-to-back seasons.
In a first half that included 11 lead changes, Oklahoma tied it up at 16 after Rashard Odomes made one of two at the free throw line. A jumper from Trae Young put the Sooners up 18-16 with 10:49 to play but Jarvis Garrett countered with a three-ball put Rhody in front 19-18 just 20 seconds later.
Oklahoma (18-14) then used a 17-8 run to gain its largest lead of the half (35–27) with 2:29 remaining. The pesky Rhode Island defense forced the Sooners into turnovers on their final two possessions however, while trimming OU's lead to 35-31 at the other end of the court.
The Rams returned from the break and trailed 42-35 (17:42) before a deep 3-ball by Jared Terrell eventually tied the score at 44. Rhode Island then used a 13-2 run - capped by a 3-pointer by Fatts Russell - to get on top 59-52 with 7:37 remaining.
Oklahoma responded with a run of its own, scoring seven straight points to pull ahead 67-66 after a 3-pointer from Young. A traditional three-point play by E.C. Matthews put the Rams back on top 69-67 with 1:35 remaining, but Young made a pair of free throws to tie the score at 69-69 with 15 seconds left to play.
The Rams had a chance to end things at the buzzer, but Stanford Robinson's tip-in attempt bounced off both sides of the rim before rolling out and sending the game into overtime.
The Sooners earned their first three points of overtime at the charity stripe to take a 72-69 lead. Rhode Island answered with a layup from Cyril Langevine and 3-pointer by Matthews to get on top 74-72 with 1:54 on the clock. A successful trip to the free throw line by Langevine then put the Rams up 76-72. The Sooners once again made it a two-point game (76-74) after a Kameron McGusty basket with 54 seconds remaining.
Matthews then hit a clutch 3-pointer with 28 seconds left to play, followed by a pair of free throw makes from both Langevine and Russell to extend the Rhody advantage to 83-76. The Sooners would not let up, as Jamuni McNeace slammed in OU's ninth dunk of the game with three seconds remaining. It was too little, too late however as time expired with Rhody on top 83-78.
Inside the Box Score
- Redshirt senior E.C. Matthews and freshman Fatts Russell combined for 31 points, 27 of which came after the first half. Matthews score a team-high 16, while also grabbing five rebounds and dishing out five assists. Russell added three assists and a pair of steals.
- Matthews now has 1,876 points on his career, moving him into third place on the all-time scoring list. He passed Ernie Calverley who had 1,868 through 1943-46.
- Sophomore Cyril Langevine and senior Jared Terrell also scored in double figures for the Rams, recording 14 and 13 points, respectively.
- Langevine double-doubled for the fifth time this season, grabbing 10 rebounds to go along with two blocks and a pair of assists.
- Nine of Terrell's 13 points came from the perimeter as he was 3-of-5 from long-range. He also recorded six rebounds, five assists and two steals.
- The two steals by Terrell move him into fourth place on the all-time list with 170. He was previously tied with Carlton Owens, who had 168 through 1984-88.
- Sophomore Jeff Dowtin and redshirt senior Stanford Robinson each added eight points. Dowtin also registered three assists, two rebounds and one block while Robinson had six rebounds and one block.
- Dowtin's 180 assists this season has moved him into third place on the all-time list, passing Carlton Owens who dished out 179 in 1987-88.
- Rhody finished with just six turnovers in the overtime victory. Only twice this season have the Rams turned the ball over fewer times as they had five against both Saint Joseph's (March 10) and Florida Gulf Coast (Dec. 27).
- Oklahoma star Trae Young recorded a game-high 28 points and seven assists.
- The Sooners also held the advantage in rebounds (54-41), points in the paint (48-36) and second chance points (22-11) but Rhody's bench provided a huge boost for the Rams, outscoring Oklahoma's 33-14.
Stats of the Game
- 16/7 - The game featured 16 lead changes and seven ties. In total, Rhody led for just 14:30 of the game's 45:00.
Rhode Island advances to the Round of 32 for the second year in a row. The Rams will face the winner of this afternoon's Duke/Iona game on Saturday, March 17.