Rams run to Sweet 16 in rout of PurdueMar 21, 2011 - 4:45 AM VCU players in double figures with 23 points while pulling down eight rebounds, as the Rams reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history with an emphatic 94-76 drubbing of Purdue in the third round of the Southwest Regional.
The 11th-seeded Rams (26-11), an at-large bid out of the unheralded Colonial Athletic Association, have run off three double-digit wins in five days against teams from the power conferences.
Joey Rodriguez totaled 12 points and 11 assists with no turnovers, Jamie Skeen scored 13 points and Juvonte Reddic netted 12 for the Rams, who moved on to play 10th-seeded Florida State, a 71-57 winner over Notre Dame in Sunday's nightcap at United Center.
JaJuan Johnson totaled 25 points and 14 rebounds while Ryne Smith went 6-for-8 from behind the arc for 20 points for third-seeded Purdue (26-8), which was vying for its third straight Sweet 16 appearance.
E'Twaun Moore was held to 10 points on 5-of-15 shooting in the loss.
"Our guys played great. I thought they did a phenomenal job executing the game plan on both ends of the floor," VCU head coach Shaka Smart said. "Purdue obviously has some very dangerous weapons offensively, and I thought we did a good job keeping them on their heels."
The Rams, the 2010 champions of the College Basketball Invitational, were an unlikely pick by the selection committee after losing to Old Dominion in the CAA Tournament final.
They were plugged into one of the "First Four" games against USC, and shut down the Pac-10's Trojans on Wednesday, 59-46, before cruising past Big East power Georgetown on Friday, 74-56.
Purdue, a perennial power in the Big Ten, figured to be a much stiffer test, and the first ever meeting between the programs was close before the Rams caught fire from long range during a 13-0 run late in the first half.
Burgess and Brandon Rozzell accounted for all 13 points during the spurt, with the latter hitting two from long range on consecutive possessions for a 36-24 lead with three minutes left before halftime.
The Boilermakers trailed, 42-32, at the break and only got as close as seven in the second half. The 42 points allowed by Purdue were one less than the Boilermakers allowed against Saint Peter's in their second-round matchup on Friday.
"You watch [the Rams] in a four or five-game stretch, and you literally think they can beat anybody in the country. And that was an honest thought that I had before we played them," Purdue head coach Matt Painter said. "I think you saw a little of that today. I was hoping that that team didn't show up, but that team for VCU did show up."
D.J. Byrd nailed a three-pointer two minutes in to get Purdue within 46-39, but VCU went on an 11-2 run a little later to open up a 19-point lead.
Burgess' three-pointer made it a 65-46 game, and the Boilermakers surprisingly never made a run to cut the deficit in the final 11 minutes.
"In the second half you could see [the Boilermakers] were getting winded. We've been working all year to condition like that, and that helped us tonight," Rodriguez said.
Purdue had won 40 straight games when scoring 70 or more points...VCU improved to 7-9 in the NCAAs, while Purdue fell to 34-25...VCU had 10 different players make at least one field goal...Ed Nixon and Rozzell finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively, for VCU, which shot 57 percent from the field and committed just four turnovers...Purdue made 45 percent of its shots...Lewis Jackson chipped in 10 points and seven assists for the Boilermakers.
- VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH: 94
Mar 20 9:13 PM
- VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH: 42
Mar 20 7:58 PM
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1st Half - 20:00
Mar 20 7:11 PM
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