Ram Tough: VCU takes down GeorgetownMar 19, 2011 - 5:38 AM
Tell that to Georgetown.
Brandon Rozzell scored 26 points, Joey Rodriguez had 17 and No. 11 seed VCU became the first two-time winner in this year's NCAA Tournament, rolling to a 74-56 victory over Georgetown that has the Rams moving on to the third round.
Making its first at-large appearance in the NCAAs since the 1983-84 season, VCU (25-11) advanced to face battle-tested Purdue, the No. 3 seed in the Southwest Region, on Sunday.
"We're not done," said Rams head coach Shaka Smart. "We're going to enjoy this one tonight, and we're going to shift our focus to Purdue. We're going to have to play just as well to win."
Of course, the Rams had already won a game before toppling Georgetown on the United Center hardwood Friday night.
Perhaps motivated by the hurlyburly surrounding their selection, they pulled away in the second half for a 59-46 victory over Southern California in a "First Four" game on Wednesday night.
Momentum may have been their biggest advantage.
Entering the game, the sixth-seeded Hoyas (21-11) hadn't played since getting bounced from the Big East Tournament by Connecticut nine days ago -- and they hadn't won a game in 27 days.
One streak ended against VCU. Unfortunately for the Hoyas, the other one didn't.
"That's the nature of the beast," said Hoyas head coach John Thompson III. "Once you get to this time of year, every team is good. There are no bad teams in this tournament."
Making its fifth appearance in the NCAAs in seven years under Thompson, Georgetown was led by 26 points from Hollis Thompson and 10 from Austin Freeman.
Freeman, the team's leading scorer at more than 17 points per game, shot just 3-of-14 from the field in 32 minutes and missed all of his seven three-point attempts.
"They played better than us," said Hoya Chris Wright, who was 3-for-13, "and they deserved to win."
Georgetown never held a lead after Jason Clark's layup made it 19-18 with 8:17 remaining in the first half. Rozzell knocked down a three-pointer at the other end to spark a 9-0 run that gave VCU the lead for good.
Rozzell was 6-of-10 from three-point range and the Rams were 12-of-25 as a team.
VCU took a 35-24 lead into halftime, part of a 19-4 run that spanned the first and second half and gave the Rams a 21-point lead on a Rodriguez three 5:08 into the game.
The Hoyas showed some life after that, coming back with a 6-0 run to get within 15 points. But they were never closer than 13 the rest of the game, while the Rams went ahead by as many as 25.
Even Purdue head coach Matt Painter called VCU a "great team" during an on-air interview with a TNT reporter. Painter was courtside, scouting the game after his Boilermakers cruised to a 65-43 win over Saint Peter's earlier in the night.
"We're a confident group," said Rodriguez. "Our seniors don't want it to end. We're best friends, and we just want to keep it going."
VCU and Georgetown have met just once previously, with the Rams earning a victory in 1978...The Hoyas finished the season on a five-game losing streak...Georgetown's record in the NCAAs fell to 45-25...VCU improved to 7-9 in the tournament.
- VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH: 74
Mar 19 12:15 AM
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1st Half - 20:00
Mar 18 9:57 PM
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