How It Happened
Eleventh-sseeded Rhode Island pulled off the Friday afternoon upset, beating sixth-seeded Creighton 84-72 to advance to the NCAA's Round of 32.
The Rams (25-9) established an early lead, thanks to their stifling defense. URI opened the game on a 6-1 run, holding Creighton (25-10) without a field goal for the first 4:48. The Bluejays missed seven shots from the floor before Khyri Thomas hit a 3-pointer at 15:12 of the first half.
Rhody continued to apply the defensive pressure throughout the half, limiting Creighton to a 30.0-percent showing (9-for-30) from the field. The Rams, on the other hand, were able to get to the basket, scoring 14 points in the paint while shooting 40.6 percent (13-for-32). Jeff Dowtin scored nine points and Kuran Iverson added eight to help Rhode Island established a 33-26 lead at the break.
Rhode Island pushed its lead to 11 points early in the second half, following a Jared Terrell steal and layup to make the score 37-26. The Rams kept the lead hovering around double digits and led 51-41 following an E.C. Matthews steal and fastbreak basket. Creighton responded with a 7-2 run to close within 53-48 at 8:53, forcing Rhode Island to call a timeout.
That was as close as the score got however. URI steadily pulled away down the stretch, icing the game at the free throw line. The Rams got the lead back to double digits when Jared Terrell made a pair of free throws to put Rhody up 64-53 with 5:14 to go. The lead never dipped below double digits again.
Inside the Box Score
- Freshman Jeff Dowtin scored a game- and career-high 23 points in the win. He also added five rebounds and was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line.
- Senior Hassan Martin finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and two steals. It was the eighth straight game and 23rd overall this season that Martin scored in double figures.
- Senior Kuran Iverson added 17 points, four rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
- Junior E.C. Matthews finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. Like Dowtin, he was a perfect 10-for-10 at the free throw line.
- Junior Jared Terrell was the fifth Ram to score double figures, registering 12 points.
- Rhode Island is now 7-8 all-time in the NCAA Championship. This is the fourth time the Rams have advanced to the Round of 32.
- Former Ram Lamar Odom – whose buzzer-beating 3-pointer won Rhode Island's first Atlantic 10 title in 1999 – was in the crowd for the game.
- The attendance at the Golden 1 Center was 15,833, marking the largest crowd Rhode Island has played in front of this season.
Stats of the Game
119 – Rhode Island has not trailed at any point over its last 119 minutes of action. The Rams never trailed today against Creighton, nor did they trail in the Atlantic 10 championship game against VCU. The last time Rhody trailed was at 19:00 of the first half against Davidson in the A-10 semifinals.
28-of-31 – Rhode Island was spectacular at the free throw line, shooting 28-of-31 from the stripe as a team. Two of the misses came in the final minute when the game was decided.
Rhode Island advances to the Round of 32 to face No. 3 Oregon, which defeated Iona, 93-77, in Friday's first game. The Rams and Ducks will play Sunday.