VCU gets past Florida State in OT thrillerMar 26, 2011 - 6:12 AM VCU coach Shaka Smart drew up a great inbounds pass that worked to perfection and the Rams ensured there will be one team from the city of Richmond in the Elite Eight.
Bradford Burgess scored a layup off a bounce pass from Joey Rodriguez with 7.1 seconds left in overtime, and 11th-seeded VCU made it to the Southwest Regional final of the NCAA Tournament with a dramatic 72-71 squeaker over No. 10 seed Florida State.
The Rams (27-11) will next face Kansas, the lone remaining top-seeded team in the tourney. The Jayhawks blew out No. 12 seed Richmond, 77-57, in the first game Friday at the Alamodome.
After Burgess' basket, the Seminoles (23-11) had one last effort snuffed out. Derwin Kitchen drove to the right baseline, but passed to Chris Singleton. His shot was blocked by freshman Rob Brandenberg as the buzzer sounded.
Burgess led the way with 26 points for the Rams, who also received 16 from Brandon Rozzell and 11 with eight boards from Jamie Skeen.
Kitchen had 23 points and 12 rebounds, while Singleton totaled 16 points and nine rebounds in defeat.
It's been a magical run thus far for VCU. The Rams earned the their unprecedented trip to the Sweet 16 with three consecutive tourney wins, downing USC in a "First Four" matchup, before dispatching sixth-seeded Georgetown and third-seeded Purdue. No prior VCU team had ever won more than one game in the Big Dance.
Now they're one step away from a trip to Houston for the Final Four.
Rodriguez had a lot to do with the outcome. The senior guard had 10 assists, none bigger than the one in the final seconds.
First, Singleton gave FSU a 71-70 lead by driving the right baseline for a layup with 29.2 seconds left.
Rodriguez then drove into the lane, but the ball was deflected out of bounds under the bucket with 7.9 on the clock. After a timeout, his bounce pass from out of bounds found Burgess for the go-ahead bucket.
"I was counting to four actually. I knew we didn't have any timeouts left and I wasn't going to pull a Chris Webber," Rodriguez said. "So I pump-faked and dumped it down. I pump-faked it to him (Brandenberg) and saw everybody go, so then I dumped it down (to Burgess). I was smiling and my eyes got big. When I saw him go up I was like 'please finish this,' because they got some long guys coming to block shots. I'm glad he got it in."
The last-second attempt by the 'Noles failed.
"I was guarding the inbound pass and I guess someone slipped under the basket," FSU guard Deividas Dulkys said. "I should have stolen that pass, but now it is something I will have to live with for the whole year."
Singleton drained a three-pointer with 45 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 65, and VCU called a timeout with 20 ticks remaining. A play was set up for Burgess, who powered into the lane, but his shot was sent backward by the extended left arm of Bernard James.
FSU got possession, but didn't call a timeout, and Kitchen's last-second three-point try was well short and likely came after the buzzer anyway.
Burgess's three with two minutes left in the first half gave VCU a 34-25 lead, and the Rams were up 36-31 at the break.
"It didn't come down to one play," insisted James. "The game was decided in the first 30 minutes when we didn't play defense."
The Seminoles scored the opening seven points of the second half, grabbing the lead on a three-ball from Dulkys.
VCU later built a lead of nine in the half, at 62-53 on a Brandenberg free throw with 7 1/2 minutes left. But that advantage evaporated.
This marked the first-ever meeting between VCU and Florida State...Burgess went 6-of-7 from three-point range...Michael Snaer had 12 points for FSU...The Rams had 30 points from their bench.
- VCU: 72
FLORIDA STATE: 71
Final - OT
Mar 26 12:29 AM
- VCU: 65
FLORIDA STATE: 65
End of Regulation
Mar 26 12:10 AM
- VCU: 36
FLORIDA STATE: 31
Mar 25 10:48 PM
- VCU: 0
FLORIDA STATE: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Mar 25 9:56 PM
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