The VCU Rams are back at it, busting brackets everywhere. It was just one year ago that Shaka Smart's club went from First Four to Final Four, and they entered the 2012 NCAA Tournament with confidence and an eye on repeating that magical run. They're off to a good start, scoring a 62-59 upset win over No. 5 seed Wichita State on Thursday night.
It was all about the defensive effort for VCU, as the Shockers averaged more than 77 points per game this season, good enough for 15th in the country. But the Rams held WSU to just 59 points and 38 percent from the field. Bradford Burgess finished with 16 points to lead the Rams, while Darius Theus and Troy Daniels added 10 points in support.
Sloppy play and turnovers in the second half erased a 9-point halftime advantage. At the under four timeout, there was an incredible sequence of four straight three pointers, two on back-to-back possession by Wichita State which gave the Shockers their first lead of the second half at 59-57 with two minutes to go. But Burgess was there to respond, drilling a three-pointer from the left corner to give the Rams the one-point lead. It was the first bucket of the second half for Burgess.
The Rams took a three-point lead an beautiful runner in the lane by Theus, who got a kind bounce off the iron. With 12 seconds remaining, the Shockers would need a three-pointer to tie it at 60, but a Garrett Stutz step-back triple was off the mark and VCU had yet another NCAA upset. They will play the winner of tonight's Indiana and New Mexico State game.
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