The Virginia Commonwealth Rams are dancing once again. VCU captured the 2012 CAA tournament championship on Monday night with a 59-56 win over the no.1 seeded Drexel Dragons. The Rams jumped all over George Mason on Sunday, and they raced out early yet again in the title game. Shaka Smart has had his team ready to play all week long in Richmond, and the Rams closed out the first half to take a 16-point lead into the locker room.
Much like Mason, Drexel would chip away at the lead throughout the second half and get within one with ten seconds to play. But Troy Daniels would hit his two free-throws to push the VCU lead back to three. A Frantz Massenat three-pointer would hit the back of the iron and VCU would pull down the rebound to seal the title and automatic berth to the big dance.
Bradford Burgess had an off-night, hitting just two of nine attempts from the floor and going 0 for three from behind the arc. Darius Theus was there to pick up some of the scoring slack for Smart's club, and despite a bad late turnover, had a spectacular all-around floor game. The junior from Portsmouth led the Rams with 16 points but also had five assists and five steals.
Damion Lee, the outstanding freshman from Baltimore, lead the Dragons with a game-high 20 points and started the comeback in the second half. The Dragons hit 13 of 14 from the charity stripe to get it close but VCU came up with the stops when it mattered most.
Squarely on the bubble as a mid-major, Drexel will now have to sweat out Selection Sunday while the Rams sit comfortably awaiting their seed and region.
For more on the CAA men's basketball tournament 2012, be sure to check out this SB Nation DC StoryStream. Meanwhile, SB Nation's college basketball hub will have all the news and nuggets you need in preparation for March and the madness it brings.