Thursday, March 15, 2012
Rapid Reaction: VCU 62, Wichita State 59
By Ted Miller
PORTLAND -- Some quick thoughts from VCU's 62-59 upset over Wichita State in the second round of the South Regional in Portland.
Overview: VCU, thought to be rebuilding after a Final Four run a year ago, held off this year's supposed mid-major darling, Wichita State, building a 13-point lead in the second half and then holding on during a furious final three minutes. The surprising thing? It wasn't the Rams' "Havoc" defense that did the trick, though it did hold the Shockers to nearly 19 points below their season average. It was the Rams' proving they could score in the half court, particularly when the screws tightened late.
Turning point: Wichita State's Toure' Murry made a 3-pointer with two minutes left that gave the Shockers their first lead of the second half at 59-57. But VCU's Bradford Burgess answered with a trey on the other end to retake the lead. The Shockers wouldn't make another shot over the final 1:30.
Key player: Burgess, a senior who made his 145th start in a row -- adding to his NCAA record -- scored 13 points in the first half, but that 3-pointer was his only score of the second half. Still, he finished with a team-high 16 points with four rebounds and four assists and no turnovers. And, you know, that shot was sort of, well, important.
Key stat: The Rams hit 42.4 percent from the field, while Wichita State, which ranked 13th in the nation this year by shooting at a 48.5 percent clip, hit only 37.5 percent.
Miscellaneous: Shockers leading scorer Garrett Stutz had a fine year but a terrible game. He played only 16:48 due to foul trouble, and he hit just 2 of 11 from the field. He finished with 4 points and 6 rebounds. He also missed the Shockers' final two shots, including a layup that would have given them the lead with a minute left. ... Both teams had five steals. ... The Rams had 13 second-chance points; the Shockers had 11.
What’s next: VCU advances to play Indiana, which handled New Mexico State in the Portland South Regional nightcap.