VCU Mania is officially back in session, thanks to the Rams’ thrilling 62-59 upset victory against No. 5 seed Wichita State Thursday in Portland’s Rose Garden arena. In the next round Saturday, VCU (29-6) will play the winner of the late Thursday Indiana-New Mexico State game.
This is the 21st time in the last 23 tournaments that a No. 12 has defeated a No. 5. What had been a rather sloppy game with poor shooting by both sides turned into an old-fashioned shootout at the end, with both teams hitting a series of pressurized three-pointers.
But the biggest basket came on a runner in the lane by VCU junior guard Darius Theus, who scored over the shocked Shockers big men with 18 seconds left for a 62-59 lead. Wichita State called time to set up a game-tying three-point attempt, but the Shockers’ best three-point shooter, guard Joe Ragland, gave the ball up and never got it back.
Wichita State 7-foot center Garrett Stutz was forced to beat the clock with an off-balance three-point try that clanged off the rim.
While Anither Stories that comes up is Vanderbilt Defeats Harvard
John Jenkins made all six of his late free throws and scored 27 points Thursday to help Vanderbilt hold off Harvard 79-70 in an East Regional game, otherwise known as “The Brain Bowl.” Vanderbilt’s senior-heavy group won its NCAA opener after the Commodores went winless in the tournament in 2008, ’10 and ’11 despite being seeded 4th, 4th and 5th.
The Commodores (25-10) were a `5′ for this one, as well, but came in with a victory over top-ranked Kentucky last weekend and armed with plenty of lessons from past failures. “We probably didn’t feel pressure, but we understand that people were looking at us as an upset trend in recent years,” senior Lance Goulbourne said.
“But we play the game looking forward, not looking backward. So this is a different year.” They built an 18-point lead early in the second half and saw No. 12 Harvard (26-5) trim it to five with 1:51 to go. But the Commodores went 8 for 9 from the line from there and won despite not making a field goal over the final 5:22.