Score: No. 1 VCU 68, No. 2 Dayton 56
Location: Brooklyn, N.Y. (Barclays Center)
Records: VCU 27-7, Dayton 22-12
Schedule Note:: Atlantic 10 Championship
The short story: VCU trailed Dayton by as many as 11 points early in the second half before the Rams went on a 19-6 run and retook the lead at 49-47 on a Jalen DeLoach dunk with 11:09 left. VCU held onto its slim lead until the Rams closed the game on an 8-0 run, jumpstarted by a 3-pointer from Jamir Watkins, and clinched the A-10 Championship.
- DeLoach, a sophomore, recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He shot an efficient 5-of-8 from the floor. It’s his fifth double-double this season
- Junior guard Ace Baldwin, Jr. had a team-high 16 points while adding seven assists
- Redshirt sophomore Jamir Watkins had 13 points and eight rebounds, including going 3-of-4 from 3-point range
- Dayton was led by DaRon Holmes II who had 28 points and 16 rebounds
- The Rams shot 47.3 percent from 3-point range (8-of-17) while limiting the Flyers to shoot just 13.6 percent (3-of-22)
- VCU shot 46.2 percent overall from the floor and held Dayton to just 32.1 percent
- The Black and Gold led in bench points 17-2 over the Flyers
- VCU and Dayton traded blows early, with the Rams holding an 18-15 lead with 7:44 remaining in the first half
- The Flyers answered back and retook the lead, extending it to to 36-28 on a Holmes II layup with 10 seconds left, but a pair of Baldwin Jr. free throws cut the deficit to 36-30 at the half
- Dayton pushed its lead to 41-30, its largest of the game, with 18:59 left in the second half. The Rams immediately fought back with the 19-6 run. The Black and Gold eventually pushed the run to 30-13 overall to retake the lead at 60-54 on a DeLoach layup with 3:31 left
- Dayton cut the deficit to 60-56 on its next possession but Watkins’ 3-pointer allowed the Rams to pull away for the win.
- VCU clinched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the 19th time in program history
- The Rams won their second Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship and first since 2015. It’s the 10th overall tournament championship for the Rams
- It will be the third NCAA Tournament appearance for VCU under Mike Rhoades
Twelfth-seeded VCU will take on fifth-seeded St. Mary’s (Calif.) in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament on Friday, March 17 at MVP Arena in Albany, N.Y. The game will tip at 1 p.m. and be nationally televised on CBS.
The Rams (27-7) will be making their 19th all-time tournament appearance and return to the field of 68 following a one-year absence. VCU has reached the NCAA Tournament 13 times since 2004.
VCU punched its ticket via a 68-56 win over Dayton in the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship Game Sunday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Rams have won nine straight games and 22 of their last 25 contests.
This will be the second all-time meeting between the Gaels and Rams, both in the NCAA Tournament. St. Mary’s topped VCU 85-77 in the 2017 NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Led by 22nd-year Head Coach Randy Bennett, the Gaels (26-7) tied for first in the West Coast Conference with Gonzaga. St. Mary’s fell in the WCC title game to the Bulldogs 77-51 on March 7. The Gaels boast WCC Defensive Player of the Year Logan Johnson, who averaged 14.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. The Gaels are ranked 16th in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the Coaches Poll.
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