After leading the majority of tonight’s First-round NCAA tournament game against the fith-seeded Wichita State Shockers, the Rams all of a sudden found themselves trailing after a Toure’ Murry 3-pointer gave the Shockers a 59-57 lead with just under two minutes to play.
Then, as he’s done time and time again, “Big Shot” Bradford Burgess ended his 18-minute scoreless slump, by nailing a timely three of his own with just 1:33 on the clock, giving the Rams a 60-59 lead.
Wichita State had a chance to take the lead right back, but WSU 7-footer Garrett Stutz missed a point-blank layup and VCU guard Darius Theus came up with the VCU rebound.
On the following possession, Theus proved clutch once more, as his floater connected for the 3-point cushion with 18 ticks left on the clock.
The Rams (29-6) were able to force the ball back into the hands of Stutz, this time for a failed 3-point attempt as time expired, giving VCU the 62-59 second-round win, and punching a ticket to the round of 32 where they’ll take on the winner of the Indiana/New Mexico State game.
Bradford Burgess lead all players with 16 points on the night, 13 of which came in the first half. Burgess added five rebounds, four assists, two steals and an assist.
Theus and fellow junior Troy Daniels round out the list of double-digit scorers for the Rams, posting 10 each for VCU in the defensive battle.
The Rams struggled to score in the second half of tonight’s game, but kept the Shockers at bay by playing a stifling defense that Wichita State had yet to see all year, holding the Shockers to a season low 59 points, 18 below their season average.
Fittingly, for a VCU team that made a name last year breaking brackets, the win was the first upset of this year’s tournament.
The Rams are back in action Saturday, but times and channels will not be available until the conclusion of today’s games.