VCU defeats Massachusetts, advances to A-10 final
Brooklyn, NY – It's a new conference for VCU, but the Rams and their havoc defense continue to produce the same results.
Juvonte Reddic had 18 points and 12 rebounds in No. 25 VCU's 71-62 win over Massachusetts in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
The 2012 CAA tournament champions will now have an opportunity to win the A-10 tourney in their inaugural season in the league if they can knock off Saint Louis in Sunday's championship game.
Troy Daniels added 20 points for the Rams (26-7), who have won five of their last six games.
Chaz Williams netted 18 points to lead UMass (21-11), which beat George Washington and Temple to reach the semifinals.
"It was a great experience," Williams said. "It would've been even better if we could've walked out with a championship."
A pair of Williams free throws pulled the Minutemen within 42-40 with 12:49 left, but VCU countered with a 12-4 run to create some breathing room. Reddic had six points during the surge, which was capped on Melvin Johnson's layup for a 54-44 Rams edge with 10-plus minutes to play.
Later, Maxie Esho split two free throws to get UMass within 65-61 with 1:56 remaining, but with the shot clock running down at the other end, Rob Brandenberg swished a step-back 3-pointer from the left corner to essentially ice the outcome.
"It's a little ironic, because we missed a lot of wide open, easy shots throughout the game," VCU head coach Shaka Smart said. "And that was the play that kind of put it out of reach."
The Minutemen jumped out to a 20-11 margin before VCU fought back to take a 35-34 advantage into the break.
UMass turned the ball over 24 times, while VCU gave the ball away just eight times ... Massachusetts has dropped eight of its last nine contests against ranked opponents since the 2008-09 season ...Cady Lalanne had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Minutemen, while Sampson Carter had eight points and 12 boards ... UMAss held a 50-36 rebounding advantage.