Game Recap (Men’s Basketball): #7 Rhode Island vs #10 Oklahoma
By: Michael Hamby
The first game of the NCAA tournament was sure to be a good one as the 7-seed Rhode Island Rams took on the 10-seed Oklahoma Sooners. With Trae Young looking to rebound from his shaky second half of the season performance, the Sooners were the favored for this game. However, the Rams had a great season and are a sleeper team in the tournament. The first half was a battle between the teams, with Trae Young leading both teams in scoring and in assists. Rhode Island was playing a havoc-style defense early on to counteract the athleticism and size of the Sooners. However, as the first half wound down, the Rams began to get cold on offense, causing Oklahoma to stretch a lead to as large as seven. The Rams however, managed to suffocate the Sooners without Young on the court, allowing the gap to close. Sooners led 35-31 at the half, with young leading both teams with 10 points and 4 assists.
The second half started with a rally from Rhode Island, thanks to a stellar start from Jared Terrell. Terrell hit 3 three-pointers in a row to rally the Rams back to even with the Sooners with 15:44 to play 44-44. The hot streak continued as the Rams built themselves up a solid 8 point lead heading down the stretch. That lead would not last, as Trae Young and the Sooners came rolling back in the final few minutes, cutting Rhode Island’s lead to two with 55 seconds left. After trading missed buckets down the stretch it came down to Young, who hit both free throws on a one and one to send the game to overtime. Overtime turned out to be as spectacular as regulation, as both teams battled back and forth. Rhode Island pulled out the late lead, 74-72 with 1 minute remaining, and stretched to two possessions with a couple of made free throws. The Rams hit one more three for insurance, and with 17 seconds to go were back at the line leading 79-74. From there, it was over, The Rams edged out the Sooners 83-78 to advance to the second round of the tournament. The player of the game was a tough choice, but Trae Young earned the adoration once again. Down the stretch his play kept Oklahoma in it, however his 28 points and 6 assists were not enough. The Rams will face the 2-seed Duke Blue Devils on Saturday.