San Diego, CA — The VCU men’s basketball team lost an overtime heartbreaker to Stephen F. Austin State University 77-75 in the second round of the NCAA tournament in San Diego, CA. on Friday.
True freshman JeQuan Lewis had an open look at the potential game-winning three pointer as time expired in the extra session, but the ball rattled out and the Rams exited the tournament after playing just one game.
After the contest, head coach Shaka Smart said he was proud of his team despite the loss.
“I like the way we played a vast majority of the second half,” he said. “We just didn’t finish the game. We kind of gave them a glimmer of hope … and gave them an opportunity to tie the score.”
VCU blew an 11-point second half lead and two missed free throws by redshirt freshman Jordan Burgess left the door open for the Lumber Jacks in the game’s final moments. After Burgess missed both free throws, Lewis fouled SFA’s Desmond Haymon on a three pointer with just more than three seconds in regulation. Haymon converted the four-point opportunity to tie the game and the Jacks went on to secure their 29th consecutive victory in the extra session.
Burgess said he thought the game was in control after his three gave VCU a six-point lead with under one minute to play.
“Honestly, I thought we had it,” Burgess said after the game. “We had them on the ropes, but they came back. They made tough shots and important shots to win the game.”
The Rams overcame a 10-point second-half deficit before relinquishing a double-digit lead of their own.
VCU shot 8-21 (38 percent) from three and 30-65 from the field overall (46 percent) on the game. Meanwhile, SFA converted 6-17 threes (35 percent) and 27-51 (53 percent) field goals in the winning effort.
Junior Treveon Graham led the way for the Rams with 19 points and seven rebounds. Burgess and Lewis contributed 13 points apiece in the loss, and senior Juvonte Reddic pitched in 10 points and seven boards.
For Reddic and fellow senior Rob Brandenberg, it was the final game in an illustrious four-year career with VCU, which featured the 2011 Final Four run.
The pair of seniors stand as the only Rams to reach the NCAA tournament in all four seasons with the team.