Tyler Dorsey gaining steam as Oregon's Mr. March

Getty Images

Getty Images

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.

This pace kept up for the first 11 minutes of the second half, with the Rams forcing turnovers and Robinson and Dorsey continuing to duel.

OR didn't play their best game, but they hung in there long enough to get going.

When Oregon needed help down the stretch against Rhode Island, they got it through guard Tyler Dorsey.

The 6-foot-7 Smith played three minutes in the second half at the front of Oregon's full-court press as the Ducks cut Rhode Island's lead from nine points to 58-52 while he was on the court.

Stanford Robinson came off the bench to score 21 points for Rhode Island (25-10), which was making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1999.

The Rams went into halftime with a 46-38 lead, thanks to a strong shooting 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.

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Brooks found his shooting stroke as he typically does and scored 19 points despite a 7-for-20 shooting day.

Four players are averaging at least 9.4 points per game for Rhode Island, they are: E.C. Matthews (14.9), Hassan Martin (14.1), Jarred Terrell (12.5) and Kuran Iverson (9.4). At 4:51 Brooks canned a 3-pointer giving the Ducks a 68-66 lead but the drama wasn't over yet.

After Dylan Ennis' jawing earned the Ducks a warning, Brooks received a first-half technical - and Altman didn't like it one bit.

Dorsey missed two free throws with 3:36 left but made up for it. Take that element away from OR, and it's a big blow.

Tied at 72 with 1:09 left. OR was taking care of business against a Rhode Island squad that had only faced one team of Oregon's caliber all season.

OR only had Dorsey and Brooks in double-figures though Bell led the way in rebounding with 12 and also had two blocked shots. This game will take part in the Midwest Region and air on TBS from Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.

Smith may have earned a few minutes when the third-seeded Ducks (31-5) face MI (26-11) Thursday at 4:09 p.m.in Kansas City. Michigan, however, has allowed just six of 22 (27 percent) catch-and-shoot attempts without a defender close by.

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