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NCAA Tournament First Round: Rhode Island beats Oklahoma in instant classic

This game was fun as all hell

Oklahoma v Rhode Island Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

7 seed Rhode Island out-lasted 10 seed Oklahoma, 83-78, in overtime Thursday in Pittsburgh to kick off the NCAA Tournament.

Got it? Good.

Now that we got the boring part of any game recap out of the way, here’s the good stuff.

This game really should teach you to never doubt Fatts Russell, E.C. Matthews, and the Rhode Island Rams.

Oklahoma held a slim lead for much of the first half and early part of the second. Then, about five minutes into the second half, with Rhode Island trailing by three, Jared Terrell pulled up from the logo and set off as electric an hour (or so) of basketball that March can provide.

That’s what got us going. A few minutes later, Fatts Russell took over and started doing Fatts Russell things. Coming off an E.C. Matthews three that gave Rhode Island the lead, Russell came up with a steal in the backcourt and instantly became a household name:

Watch that video a few more times to get an idea of what happened down the stretch on both ends. Every second was exhilarating.

We thought that Oklahoma would rip our hearts out when Trae Young put the Sooners ahead on a three with just over two minutes to go.

Then Matthews came down and scored on an and-one.

Anything else fun happen? Oh yeah, here’s how we got to overtime:

IT WAS SO CLOSE. SO CLOSE. I WATCH THIS REPLAY AND I’M CONVINCED THIS TIME IT WILL GO IN.

Don’t worry, though. Here’s your overtime recap:

Some final stats for ya, because I guess I have to give you those:

Matthews had 16 to lead Rhode Island and Russell came off the bench to score 15 on 3-6 shooting from three. Trae Young, whose brilliant freshman season (and collegiate career) came to an end today, scored 28 to lead Oklahoma.

Rhode Island advances to face the winner of Duke and Iona (so Duke) on Saturday. The game time will be announced later tonight.