VCU found themselves in an A-10 semifinal slugfest against the UMass Minutemen this afternoon, eventually pulling away in the 71-62 win that punched the Rams their first-ever ticket to an A-10 tournament final.
Down eight with 5:15 left in the first half, senior Troy Daniels sparked VCU’s early comeback, hitting three consecutive 3-pointers in just over one minute to give the Rams a 24-23 lead. VCU held that lead through the remainder of the game.
UMass threatened late however, cutting the Rams lead to four with 1:56 to play. On VCU’s next possession, the Minutemen defended successfully for 34 seconds of shot clock until an off-balanced Rob Brandenberg drained a desperation 3-pointer that proved to be the back-breaker of UMass’ title hopes.
Troy Daniels starred for the Rams in front of a pro-VCU crowd that included one very famous fan, director/actor Spike Lee, who sat front row in a gold VCU Rams t-shirt.
Daniels was 6-9 from long range and led all players with 20 points in just 26 minutes on the afternoon.
It was Daniels’ first 20-point performance since the Rams rout of Butler on March 2nd.
Juvonte Reddic was huge for VCU against a very large UMass front line. The Junior posted 18 points and a game-high 12 rebounds in the win.
Point guards Briante Weber (11) and Darius Theus (10) round out the list of double-digit scorers for VCU. Theus added a game-high six assists and added two steals on a night the Rams turned UMass over 24 times.
The win moves VCU to 26-7 on the season and sets up a rematch against Saint Louis in tomorrow’s A-10 final.
The Rams lost their only meeting with the Billikens this season, falling 76-62 in Saint Louis back in February.
VCU is in the unique position to potentially win their second conference tournament in as many years, having won the CAA tournament last season before jumping to the Atlantic 10 this year.
Tomorrow’s tournament final tips at 1PM and will air on CBS