VCU wins the Atlantic Ten Championship, turning away the Flyers with a 71-65 victory. Dayton never got untracked offensively, hitting on 17% of their three-point attempts, a scant 38% from the field overall. All season UD was able to make a play or two more than their opponent, today it was the Rams’ turn.
VCU was red-hot from the perimeter during the last ten minutes of the first half and carried that over to the first five minutes of the second. The Rams ran out to an eleven point lead early in the second half before a 10-3 Dayton run brought the margin to just four. VCU and UD traded blows the rest of the way, the Rams edge hovering around 2-4 points until a huge Dyshawn Pierre three tied it up at 55.
Scoochie Smith, who was playing just about as well as he had all season, floated a lazy pass that was picked off by Doug Brooks with the Flyers trailing 61-59 and a minute on the clock. Brooks took it 35 feet, sent a pass to JeQuan Lewis, who converted an easy layup. VCU went up four and the game seemed like it was in the books. UD called a timeout, set up a play for Kendall Pollard, a 58% foul-shooter this year. VCU, thankful for the gift, fouled Pollard with glee. The sophomore hit one of two and the Flyers were within three.
Jordan Sibert was fouled shooing a three and converted a trio of freebies, making it 67-65 with ten seconds to go, but the Flyers would get no closer.
VCU was a perfect 8-of-8 from the stripe over the last forty seconds of the contest, and the clock eventually ran out on the Flyers. UD enters the tournament with a 25-8 record, an accomplishment no one saw coming back in December.
Now the Flyers wait to hear where/who they will play later this week. I’m puling for Xavier, it’d be a fantastic way to close out this season.