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VCU defeats Wichita State 62-59 to advance

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Shaka Smart and Co. pulled off a initial vital warn of a NCAA tournament.

Yup, VCU is behind again.

Bradford Burgess strike a pivotal 3-pointer with 1:33 left and a 12th-seeded Rams hold off Wichita State 62-59 on Thursday night.

Smart was one of a tournament’s biggest stars final year when he coached VCU to victories over Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State and Kansas, creation a Rams only a third No. 11 seed to strech a Final Four. The run finished when they mislaid to Butler in Houston.

This year’s group is dynamic to forge a possess identity.

“We have opposite guys doing opposite things than final year’s team,” Burgess said. “We wish to make a possess symbol on this year’s tournament.”

Still, there are already similarities to final year’s run. Just take a demeanour during a final few raging mins of this one.

With 12 seconds left and a Rams sticking to a 62-59 lead, Smart was so charcterised during a timeout that he swooped down on his group during midcourt and started strategizing.

The heated crowd was eventually brushed behind to nearby a dais by a referees, though a Rams came out of a timeout and buckled down defensively, hurrying Wichita State core Garrett Stutz’s erring 3-point try before a final buzzer.

“Our guys did a good pursuit executing a defensive plan,” Smart pronounced of those final seconds. “They didn’t get a good demeanour during a 3, and that’s what won it for us.”

The Rams (29-6) led by as many as 13 in a second half, though Wichita State (26-6) sealed to 54-53 on Stutz’s layup with 5:39 left. Troy Daniels strike a 3-pointer for a Rams, and Joe Ragland answered with his possess for a Shockers.

Toure Murry done a 3 that gave Wichita State a lead, though Burgess came behind with his large shot to give a Rams a 60-59 edge. Darius Theus afterwards tacked on a curtain before Stutz’s last-chance try was off.

“I was kind of a final choice on top, and VCU review a play well,” Stutz said. “By a time we got a round we knew there wasn’t adequate time to go for a two. Couldn’t have been some-more than 2 or 3 seconds left.”

Said VCU ensure Rob Brandenberg: “Everybody was on a same page that final (defensive) play.”

Burgess finished with 16 points, and Theus and Daniels had 10 points every for a Rams, who edged Drexel 59-56 in a Colonial Athletic Association Tournament final to make it to a NCAAs.

Because of their astonishing run final season, a Rams were approaching to give a Shockers trouble. Even President Barack Obama picked them to advance.

Ragland finished with 15 points after removing off to a delayed start.

“They apparently pressured a round and a initial half we didn’t hoop it as good as we should have,” Ragland said. “The second half we rubbed it flattering good and had a possibility to win a game.”

Wichita State was ranked No. 18 in a final The Associated Press poll. The Shockers won a regular-season pretension in a Missouri Valley Conference, though mislaid to Illinois State in a semifinals of a discussion tournament.

It was a initial NCAA contest coming for Wichita State given 2006, when it modernized to a informal semifinals.

There were lots of missed shots on both sides early, though Rob Brandenberg strike a 3-pointer to put VCU in front 17-13 mid by a initial half.

Wichita State put together an 11-0 run to make it 24-21 with 5:27 left. Carl Hall capped a swell with a layup.

Treveon Graham pennyless a VCU scoring drought with a jumper and Burgess combined a 3-pointer, sparking a 13-1 run that carried a Rams to a 34-25 lead during a break.

Burgess scored 13 points during a winning initial half, solely for an erring 3-pointer that fell distant brief of a basket.

Virginia Commonwealth stretched a lead to 41-29 after Brandenberg’s layup. His jumper a brief time after gave a Rams a 46-33 lead, though Ben Smith had a layup before David Kyles scored 5 discerning points to trim VCU’s lead to 46-40.

Ragland, who was still many of a initial half, done a 3-pointer with 7:23 left and Stutz tapped in a shot to get Wichita State within one during 54-53.

“They came during us with kind of a sip of a possess medicine and pulpy us,” Smart said. “I suspicion it gave us troubles for partial of a second half though we hung in there and done all a large plays in a end.”

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