PITTSBURGH – E.C. Matthews hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime and one more that sealed it to help Rhode Island hold off dynamic scorer Trae Young and beat Oklahoma 83-78 Thursday in the Midwest Regional.
The seventh-seeded Rams (26-7) won a game in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season and will play Saturday the winner of Duke-Iona.
The 10th-seeded Sooners (18-14) late-season fade ended with a thud when Young failed to carry them as he had so many times this season. The phenomenal freshman led the nation with averages of 27.4 points and 8.8 assists. He scored 28 points on 9 of 18 shooting with six turnovers.
Young shook off an early second-half funk and scored 13 straight points for the Sooners over regulation and made two free throws to open OT to give them a chance against a Rams team that smothered the guard at times.
Matthews hit a 3 in OT for a 74-72 lead with 1:54 left and one more with 28 seconds to go for a five-point lead. Coach Dan Hurley ended the win with a big embrace with guard Fatts Russell. Russell hit three clutch 3s and scored 15 points. Matthews had 16 points.
Rhode Island stood on the court and pointed toward the scoreboard as their logo advanced on the video bracket.
The Sooners needed so much more out of Young early in the second half as they quickly gave up a four-point halftime lead.
He finally hit a 3 off a turnover with 2:05 left and then sank two free throws with 14.5 seconds to go that tied the game 69-all and sent it to overtime.
Rhode Island’s buzzer-beater follow shot for the win rolled off the rim.
Matthews and Russell helped turn the game for Rhode Island.
Matthews hit a 3, Russell stripped Young and connected on his own 3-pointer for a 55-50 lead that sent the pro-URI crowd into a frenzy.
There was anticipation this would turn into the Trae Young Show in a hurry much like in the four games this season he scored at least 40 points. Young took some time to warm up. He did sink a pair of 3s and made all four shots for 10 points in the first half but sat for a little more than 3 minutes when he picked up two offensive fouls. Young did not try and create his own shots for easy looks at the rim and he had three turnovers in just 14 minutes.
He didn’t pick up another foul the rest of the game.
Neither team led by more than eight points in the half, in large part because of struggles at the free throw line. The Sooners missed 5 of 7 shots and Rhode Island was worse at 2 for 10.
Hurley was a spastic bundle of energy on the bench, pumping his fists, stomping down the sideline and exhorting a nice turnout of URI fans – that included “Frog Man” – to get louder. Hurley was issued a warning in the second half for straying too far outside the box. His energy rubbed off on the players, including one who lay on his back and waved his arms on a Rhode Island 3.
Rhode Island: Cyril Langevine scored 14 points and Jared Terrell had 13 as part of a balanced Rams team.
Oklahoma: Jamuni McNeace scored 14 points but no other Sooner hit double digits. The Sooners missed a whopping 16 of 20 shots and – with Young struggling until late – could never put together enough of a run to put away the Rams.
UP NEXT: The Rams get the winner of Duke (26-7) vs. Iona (20-13).
More AP college basketball: https://collegebasketball.ap.org; https://twitter.com/AP–Top25 and https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-special-events
Rhode Island 83, Oklahoma 78, OT. APNewsNow. With AP Photos.
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