VCU used a dominating second half to pull away from George Washington, knocking off the Colonials 74-55 in the Atlantic 10 semifinals. The Rams will advance to Sunday’s A-10 title game where they will take on St. Joseph’s.
VCU shot 13-for-23 from the floor in the second 20 minutes, and while their ‘Havoc’ defense wasn’t forcing turnovers the way we are accustomed to, it did take GW completely out of their rhythm offensively.
But none of that will matter in a week when the NCAA tournament kicks off.
What will matter is the status of a trio of guards that played in this game.
Let’s start with VCU’s Melvin Johnson. One of the biggest issues that the Rams have had this season is that they don’t have enough consistent perimeter jump shooters. It bogs them down when they’re forced to play in the half court offensively. Johnson was the most dangerous three-point threat on the Rams this season, but he went down with a left-knee injury during the game. He had to be helped off the court and spent the second half of the game sitting on the bench with a full cast on his leg.
If that injury is serious, it would be a massive blow to the Rams.
For GW, they are waiting to get Kethan Savage back. Savage was the team’s starting two-guard for much of the season but went down with a broken foot in mid-January. He returned to the floor on Saturday, but only played limited minutes. His return would be a major boost, as he’s one of the best penetrators on the roster as well as a good on-ball defender that can help take the pressure off of Joe McDonald as a ball-handler.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.