After one half at the Rose Garden in Portland, the No. 12 seed VCU Rams lead Wichita State 34-25. VCU went on a 13-1 run in the final five minutes to build the lead. The Shockers did not have a made field goal over the final five plus minutes. Shaka Smart was pleased with the way it ended but reiterated that the Rams have to continue to lock down in their half court defense over the final 20 minutes to pull off the upset.
The Richmond native and senior Bradford Burgess led the Rams with 13 points, pacing VCU's run at the end of the half. Burgess was just one of five from behind the arc, however, and the Rams shot just 23 percent from deep during the first half. But it was the defensive effort that was all the difference, forcing the Shockers to less than 30 percent from the field. Big man Garrett Stutz had just two points and was relatively quiet against the Rams' front line.
VCU is coming into the tournament with a ton of confidence and looking to repeat their March magic from a year ago. They'll look to continue the defensive effort in the second half for the upset win that could spark another run.
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