Ducks top Iona to open tournament
The Oregon Ducks got their NCAA basketball tournament off to a flying start.
Oregon sprinted into the round-of-32 with a 93-77 win on Friday over Iona in a first-round game at Sacramento.
Oregon (30-5), a No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region, will next play at 4:10 p.m. Sunday against 11th seed Rhode Island. The Rams beat sixth-seed Creighton 84-72 on Friday.
The Ducks received contributions across the board and enjoyed a double-digit lead from midway through the first half.
Tyler Dorsey led four Ducks in double figures with a game-high 24 points. Dillon Brooks scored 18 points, Jordan Bell 17 and Payton Pritchard 16.
Oregon led by as many as 27 points in the second half and withstood some Iona 3-point shooting to advance.
"A lot of good things," Oregon coach Dana Altman said. "The only disappointing thing is, we got a big lead and gave up some easy baskets. And then the ball movement — when we got that big lead, (the) guys moved it nice, got a lot of easy baskets. When we got it hung up, we weren't as effective. It's about survive and advance, but you've got to learn from it too."
Bell scored 15 points and hit all six of his shots in the first half to help the Ducks build an 18-point halftime lead.
A 10-1 run to start the second half was fueled by eight points from Pritchard, who hit a pair of 3-pointers and a transition layup.
The Ducks dominated around the basket, outrebounding the Gaels 40-27.
The Gaels (22-13) were led by 22 points and 11 rebounds (five offensive) from Jordan Washington.
Sam Cassell Jr. scored 16 points off the bench and Deyshonee Much scored his 15 points by hitting five 3-pointers during a second-half hot streak.
Bell led Oregon's rebounding with 10 boards — six on the offensive end. Bell finished 7 for 8 from the floor.
Ennis and Pritchard each had three of Oregon's eight steals. Ennis had seven rebounds and three assists. Pritchard had four assists and three rebounds.
Dorsey finished 9 for 13 from the floor and grabbed five rebounds.
The Ducks had a 16-0 advantage in fast-break points.
Iona's 3-point shooting allowed the Gaels to cut a 27-point deficit to 13 with six minutes left. The Gaels finished 10 of 26 on 3-pointers.
The Ducks were 9 for 23 on 3-pointers. Pritchard was 4 for 7 from distance.
Off the bench, Kavell Bigby-Williams contributed four points asnd six rebounds in 14 minutes as the Ducks played without Chris Boucher who is out for the season with a knee injury suffered during the Pac-12 tournament.
Casey Benson added nine points off the bench.
The Ducks were able to get to the basket at will in building an 18-point halftime lead. Oregon outscored Iona 26-9 to turn a one-point game into a 55-37 halftime lead.
The Ducks shot 65.6 percent in the first half (21 of 33). Bell hit all six of his first-half shorts and had 15 points, four rebounds and a steal by halftime.
Dorsey was 5 for 8 from the floor and scored 14 in the first half. The Ducks had seven players score at least four points in the first half.
Washington got going early for Iona, getting to the basket for 14 early points.
Oregon led by nine when Brooks picked up his second foul on an offensive charge 10 minutes into the game. With Brooks on the bench, the Gaels made a 10-2 run to pull within 29-28.
But Brooks returned to the game and the Ducks quickly pushed the lead to nine on their way to an 18-point halftime lead.
Said Brooks: "We've seen teams can get it going, so everybody had to show up. Guys were confident, knocking down shots, and it was a great first game for everybody."
NOTES — Oregon has won five consecutive first-round games. ... The Ducks' 93 points are a reconrd for an NCAA Tournament game, one more than 92 against Wake Forest in 2002. ... Bell, with his ninth career double-double, became the program's career leader with 60 rebounds in NCAA Tournament play. ... Brooks (1,554 career points) passed E.J. Singler (1,546) to move into 11th in Oregon career scoring.