RHODE Island took control early and cruised to victory over Creighton, 84-72, on Friday in Sacramento (Saturday, Manila time) in the opener of the Midwest Region in the NCAA Tournament.
Jeff Dowtin led the way as the 11th-seeded Rams outscored the No. 6 Bluejays in the first half 33-26 en route to victory that set up a second-round showdown with No. 3 Oregon, which beat Iona, 93-77.
The Bluejays, the Big East Tournament runners-up, erased an early seven-point deficit but the Rams quickly regained control and got ahead by double-digits early in the second half, 37-26.
Dowtin scored a career-high 23 points, while Kuran Iverson came up with 17 points for Rhode Island, the Atlantic-10 champions who extended their win run to nine.
Kobe Paras of the Philippines hit a triple, his only shot, late in the game to make it 67-80, and had one rebound in two minutes of action for the Bluejays.
Marcus Foster went 6 for 19 and scored 15 points and Kyrhi Thomas came up with 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting for Creighton.