The last time Rhode Island made the NCAA Tournament, its best player was a freshman big man named Lamar Odom. Odom, now a two-time NBA Champion, was in the building Friday evening to watch his former school beat 6 seed Creighton 84-72 to earn its first win in the Big Dance in 19 years.
It was a complete victory for coach Dan Hurley’s squad after it grabbed an early lead and never looked back. The Rams never trailed, and Creighton never got closer than a five-point deficit in the second half. URI won despite shooting just 4-21 from beyond the arc.
It was a poor shooting day from the field for junior guard E.C. Matthews, who leads the Rams in scoring with 14.9 points per game. That didn’t stop him from filling up the stat sheet, however. Matthews scored 16 points on 3-12 shooting from the field, and he made all 10 of his free-throws. The Rams showed off their depth in the win as Jeff Dowtin, Kuran Iverson, Hassan Martin and Jared Terrell also posted double-digit scoring totals.
The Rams have trailed for a combined total of 43 seconds in their last four games, dating back to their A-10 Tournament opener against St. Bonaventure. Their win over Creighton was their ninth victory in a row, and they have not lost in over a month. URI will take on Oregon in the Second Round on Sunday in Sacramento with a Sweet Sixteen berth on the line.