It wasn't another Dillon Brooks buzzer-beater, but Sunday night had to feel familiar, as Oregon has grown accustomed to late-game escape acts with two of the nation's best shot makers.
This time, after trailing Rhode Island for much of the second-round game in Sacramento, Oregon got a game-winning shot from Tyler Dorsey, who pulled up from a few feet beyond the top of the key and buried a 3-pointer to break a tie with 38.4 seconds left.
After Oregon went ahead on Dorsey's final three, Rhode Island faltered on its final possession, getting two threes off with an offensive rebound in between but coming close on neither. Thus, the Ducks held on to end the phenomenal hot streak that the Rams had been on.
Rhode Island entered the Round of 32 having won nine games in a row, vaulting from the bubble to safely into the field as the Atlantic 10 tournament champion. The Midwest's No. 11 seed, Rhode Island beat Creighton by 12 in the first round, earning its first tournament win since its 1998 Elite Eight run, in its first tournament appearance since 1999.
The Rams fell behind by eight early, but they finished the first half on a 24-8 run to take an eight-point lead into the locker room.
No. 3 seed Oregon was on the ropes the entire second half but finally began closing the gap, not surprisingly behind the impressive shot-making of Brooks, the Pac-12's player of the year, then Dorsey.
Around the two-minute mark, Oregon managed to erase a four-point deficit on one possession, as Dylan Ennis made one of two free throws, Jordan Bell grabbed an offensive rebound, Brooks missed a three, Bell grabbed another rebound and, finally Dorsey hit the first of his two huge late threes to tie the game.
Rhode Island's remarkable late-season run has come to end, but it remains a massive success for coach Danny Hurley to get the Rams back to the tourney, with an A-10 trophy, too. Meanwhile, it's another hurdle cleared for Oregon, which survived without injured 6-foot-10 rim protector Chris Boucher and despite allowing URI's Stanford Robinson to score 21 points off the bench.
Brooks scored 19, while Dorsey stole the show by going 9-for-10 from the field and 4-for-5 from 3-point range to rack up 27 points, his fifth straight game scoring over 20.
Oregon will head to its second straight Sweet 16, and it will draw a matchup with another of the hottest teams in college basketball, Michigan. It's a tough matchup, one that could easily go wrong given how well the Wolverines have played. But Dorsey is one of the tournament's hottest players and Brooks is one of its best players, giving Oregon a duo as capable of making big shots with the game on the line as anybody left in the bracket.