VCU, who made its seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance, came up short moving to the round of 32 for the second straight year. That was no fault of JeQuan Lewis, though, as the senior guard tallied 30 points, 22 in the second half.
The Rams got down early in the first half. By the 10 minute mark, VCU was in the bonus and sent Saint Mary’s (CA) to the foul line after each foul. The Gaels went 10-for-10 on free throws once VCU enters the bonus and had a 15 point lead at halftime.
Not only was foul trouble a factor for VCU being down, but poor perimeter offense and defense aided that. The Gaels shot 57% from three in the first half and were able to hold the Rams to 0%.
Lewis was able to get VCU back into the game when the second half started. With 15:01 left, Saint Mary’s guard, Joe Rahon, picked up his fourth foul and was forced to the bench. Rahon up to that point had 13 points and was leading the Gaels in scoring. VCU went on an 8-2 run and pulled to within three. However, that’s as close as the Rams would get.
Led by Jock Landale’s 18 points and 13 rebounds, Saint Mary’s (CA) defeated VCU 85-77 to move onto the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. The Gaels shot 55% from the field and out-rebounded the Rams 37-29. In a game that saw over 50 fouls, Saint Mary’s shot 13 more free throws than VCU and held on for the win.
What’s Next for Saint Mary’s
Saint Mary’s faces the winner of No.2 seed Arizona on Saturday.