Saturday, March 19, 2011
Rapid Reaction: VCU 74, Georgetown 56
By Eamonn Brennan
CHICAGO -- Whether VCU belonged in the tournament or not, they're here now. And they apparently plan to stay for a while.
That was the obvious verdict after the Rams' 74-56 win here Saturday night. Usually, upsets are supposed to look like, well, upsets: A scrappy underdog hangs around just long enough to hit a desperate game-winner, the crowd goes wild, Gus Johnson freaks out, all that.
Instead, VCU dominated Georgetown for 30-plus minutes. The Rams opened a double-digit lead late in the first half and never looked back, and a Hoyas comeback never materialized.
Turning point: VCU opened up an 11-point lead just before halftime, but the real "turning point" -- or at least the moment this ostensible upset became real -- came early in the second half, when a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers by guards Brandon Rozzell and Bradford Burgess expanded the Rams' lead to 46-28.
Key stat: Name a stat, look it up, and you'll get a figure that explains VCU's runaway excellence in this game. The Rams shot 48 percent from 3-point range; Georgetown shot 19.2. The Rams committed a mere six turnovers; the Hoyas coughed up the ball 17 times. The Rams scored 1.38 points per possession; Georgetown scored 1.18. (Which is still a high number. Just not as high as the Rams. Yikes.) What looked at first like an underdog knocking the favorite on its toes soon became a comprehensive clinic with VCU in the role of visiting professor.
Key player: It's hard to tease out one particular Rams performance -- pretty much everyone played great -- but Rozzell is a solid candidate. Simply put, Rozzell was on fire: He scored 26 points on 8-of-13 from the field, including 6-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Miscellany: It was hard not to feel for Georgetown guard Chris Wright, who was making his first appearance since a hand injury sidelined him on Feb. 26. The senior guard never got it going -- he went 3-of-13 from the field -- and his frustration with the referees (and maybe just his frustration in general) boiled over in the second half, earning him a technical and digging his team into an even deeper hole.
What's next: VCU's unlikely tournament run continues Sunday, when the Rams will take on No. 3 seed Purdue in what promises to be a fascinating clash of styles. Meanwhile, Georgetown's early end marks the second-straight season the Hoyas have lost to a double-digit seed in the first round of the NCAA tournament. John Thompson III's team finished 21-11 overall.