VCU loses Valentine’s Day heartbreaker on buzzer beater

With just over four seconds remaining in the game, it looked as if VCU had done everything right, but four seconds is all it took for George Mason to squash VCU’s chances at an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Despite solid second half play, Mason caught fire and beat VCU 62-61 in Fairfax, VA.

With just over four seconds remaining in the game, it looked as if VCU had done everything right, but four seconds is all it took for George Mason to squash VCU’s chances at an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Despite solid second half play, Mason caught fire and beat VCU 62-61 in Fairfax, VA.

Recap

Tweets from last night

Relive the game (if you dare) through the magic of Twitter! Follow the tweets and pictures posted during VCU’s heartbreaking loss to GMU.

Entering Tuesday night’s action, VCU knew it was going to need sophomores DJ Haley and Juvonte Reddic to come up big against George Mason’s Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson. Despite their best efforts, the VCU front court scored only six points while Ryan Pearson caught fire and kept the Patriots in the game.

Both teams traded the lead in the first half before Vertrail Vaughns drained a three-pointer and the Patriots entered halftime with a 28-27 lead.

In the second half it took GMU four minutes to score, and a pair of Troy Daniels three-pointers with just over 12 minutes remaining built the Rams largest lead up to eight points. VCU then faced their own five plus minute scoring drought.

With 3:24 remaining Bradford Burgess drained a three-pointer to tie the game at 51-51. After 2 scoreless minutes “Big Shot” Bradford Burgess held true to his name as he drained the go ahead three-pointer. With VCU leading 54-51 the game entered the final minute.

The final minute

On the next possession VCU intelligently switched to zone defense which forced GMU to waste time. Bryon Allen missed a shot and VCU picked up a stop which immediately squashed the hopes of even serious Mason fans. Channeling his late game confidence from Saturday afternoon Briante Weber stepped to the line and drained both free-throws on the following possession. Then, off an offensive rebound, Ryan Pearson drained a 3-pointer. On the next possession Troy Daniels drained both free-throws. Vaughn Gray responded with a two point bucket. Briante Weber again drained both free-throws with 10 seconds remaining. With 4 seconds remaining Ventrail Vaughns drained a three pointer. A foul before the inbound pass sent Briante Weber to the line again.

With only three seconds remaining, Briante Weber missed his first free-throw before hitting his second. George Mason inbounded the ball with under 3 seconds remaining and Sherrod Wright sunk a contested NBA+ range three-pointer.

Coach Shaka Smarts decision to go to zone was extremely effective, and it is difficult to complain about 7-8 free-throw shooting under pressure in the final minute of a game–especially when six of those attempts come from a freshman. The only glaring mistake in the final minute: with one timeout remaining, a two-point lead, and 3.8 second remaining on the clock should Shaka Smart have called a timeout?

Hindsight is 20-20, but with arguably the best full-court defense in the country, the Rams were caught off guard by the quick final George Mason play. A timeout might have helped VCU not allow GMU’s best three-point shooter to catch the ball 30 feet inbounds. A timeout might have helped Rob Brandenberg, who turned his hips and got beat allowing Sherrod Wright to get an open look for the win. As a head coach Shaka Smart has little precedence for this situation, but VCU’s game is defense and in the future one can only hope he calls a timeout.

Last season GMU broke VCU’s spirit but the Rams regrouped and great things happened. For now the only thing the Rams can do is get better and win games until GMU visits the Siegel Center on February 25th.

Warning: might cause permanent emotional damage:

Top performer

While Sherrod Wright’s buzzer beater will haunt VCU fans for years to come, Ryan Pearson was the real nightmare Tuesday night. On 10-20 shooting Pearson scored 24 points and grabbed 11 boards while carrying the Patriots on his back. With 30 seconds remaining Ryan Pearson drained a three-pointer to keep Mason’s hopes alive. When these two teams rematch, containing Pearson will definitely be the focus of VCU’s game plan.

5 stats

  • In the final 30 seconds, GMU shot 4-4 including 3-3 from three-point range.
  • In 31 minutes of play Juvonte Reddic was 1-8 from the field with only 3 rebounds.
  • VCU and GMU combined for 21 points in the final 82 seconds.
  • In the past two VCU-GMU games, senior Mike Morrison has 10 fouls in only 43 minutes action.
  • In a game where VCU could have afforded to rebound better, guard Troy Daniels grabbed eight rebounds while Haley and Reddic combined for only five rebounds.

Looking forward

VCU’s biggest weakness this year is the quality of the Rams’ schedule. Friday the Rams hope to pad their resume against a talented Northern Iowa squad from the deep Missouri-Valley Conference in a nationally televised Sears Bracketbusters event.

  • Friday February 18th. 9pm. Northern Iowa. Stuart C. Siegel Center.

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Related

Tuesday night was rough, maybe this will help:

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To stay up to date on all things VCU Basketball related, follow @rvaRAMnews on twitter

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Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams loves music, basketball (follow @rvaramnews!), family, learning and barbecue sauce.

1 comment on VCU loses Valentine’s Day heartbreaker on buzzer beater

  1. “four seconds is all it took for George Mason to squash VCU’s chances at an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.”

    If the Rams wins out and Drexel loses to ODU then there will be a 3 way tie for 1st in the league going into the CAA tourney. If VCU gets to the finals of the tourney they could still get an at-large so I do not think their chances are squashed…… but they are slim.

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