BROOKLYN, NY (WRIC) — For the 5th time in the last six seasons, VCU now awaits Selection Sunday to discover if or where they land in the NCAA Tournament.
Sunday afternoon, the VCU Rams, plagued by poor shooting and defensive miscues, rallied from down 20 to eventually lose to the St. Joseph’s Hawks in the Atlantic 10 tournament final for the 2nd time in three years, 87-74.
The Hawks were led by A-10 Player of the Year Deandre Bembry with 30 points. Korey Billbury and JeQuan Lewis both finished with 19 points in the loss for VCU.
St. Joseph’s, the four seed, shot 20-of-31 in the first half to grab a 43-34 halftime lead; that then ballooned into a 67-47, 20 point lead with 9:15 to go in the second half.
30 seconds later, St. Joseph’s Papa Ndao was ejected from the game following a double technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct and directing insult to a referee.
It sparked the Rams to a 19-7 run, getting the deficit down to as many as seven in the final five minutes of gametime. VCU’s Mo Alie-Cox, who didn’t have any points in the first half, had eight during the run.
However, St. Joseph’s had the benefit of being in the double bonus, and were able to keep VCU at bay. Eventually with under two minutes to play, VCU broke down defensively and Bembry got an open lane to hammer the nail in the Rams coffin, a two handed dunk, his 30th point of the contest.
St. Joseph’s gets the Atlantic 10’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, VCU going into today’s championship final was predicted by many as a seven seed in the eastern region of the NCAA Tournament.
The NCAA Tournament Selection Show begins at 5:30 p.m.
8Sports Director Mitch Carr will be with the VCU Rams during the selection show, stay with 8News to find out where they end up throughout the evening.