Rapid reaction: VCU 59, USC 46

March, 16, 2011
3/16/11
11:57
PM ET
DAYTON, Ohio -- VCU did what UAB couldn't at the First Four: justify its controversial at-large bid in the NCAA tournament.

The Rams bought major credibility for themselves and restored some for the selection committee by beating USC 59-46 on Wednesday night. It was a contrast in styles, and although the score might indicate that the game was played at the Trojans' pace, VCU's pressure and 3-point shooting flustered USC in the second half. Here's a quick recap:

Turning point: Tied at halftime, VCU built a 10-point lead early in the second half by burying four of five 3-point attempts. USC got back to within one at 44-43 just after the under-eight minute timeout. But then Ed Nixon hit a 3, and the Rams scored 15 of the game's final 18 points. With his team in foul trouble, coach Shaka Smart switched to a 2-3 zone in the final minutes that bothered USC. The Trojans also looked tired down the stretch, perhaps suffering the consequences of a short rotation battling a steady full-court press. They had only two field goals in the final nine minutes.

Key stat: VCU, one of the worst rebounding teams in the country statistically, beat the bigger Trojans on the glass 40-31. The Rams also hit nine 3-pointers, compared to just one for USC.

Star player: Forward Jamie Skeen led all scorers with 16 points and added nine rebounds. He also contained USC big man Nikola Vucevic, who had only five field goal attempts before fouling out.

What's next: VCU will go on to play Southwest Region No. 6 seed Georgetown on Friday in Chicago.

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