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NCAA TOURNAMENT: VCU 62, WSU 59 Wichita State rally falls short in NCAA loss VCU high-pressure defense takes Shockers out of game, out of tournament.

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, March 15, 2012, at 8:50 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, March 20, 2014, at 6:22 p.m.

Photos

Shocker report

Thursday’s box score

VCU (62)

Min

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Reddic

20

2-5

0-0

2-5

1

4

4

Burgess

38

6-16

2-2

3-5

4

1

16

Haley

18

1-1

2-3

2-7

0

2

4

Theus

35

5-7

0-0

0-3

3

2

10

Daniels

31

4-8

0-0

0-6

0

1

10

Weber

11

2-5

0-0

0-2

0

1

5

Brandenberg

27

3-11

2-4

0-1

1

0

9

Graham

15

2-6

0-0

1-2

0

0

4

Hinton

5

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

1

0

Totals

200

25-59

6-9

10-37

9

12

62

Percentages: FG .424, FT .667. 3-Point Goals: 6-23, .261 (Daniels 2-5, Burgess 2-7, Weber 1-2, Brandenberg 1-6, Theus 0-1, Graham 0-2). Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked Shots: 3 (Burgess, Haley, Reddic). Turnovers: 11 (Theus 4, Brandenberg 4, Graham 2, Weber). Steals: 8 (Brandenberg 3, Burgess 2, Haley, Theus, Daniels). Technical Fouls: None.

Wichita State (59)

Min

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Smith

25

3-9

0-0

0-0

0

2

7

Stutz

17

2-11

0-0

1-7

2

3

4

Ragland

38

6-10

1-2

2-5

0

1

15

Williams

14

0-2

0-0

0-2

0

0

0

Murry

36

3-10

3-4

1-4

5

2

10

Orukpe

3

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Hall

32

4-7

2-3

5-8

2

1

10

Kyles

24

4-9

0-0

0-2

3

0

9

Cotton

7

2-3

0-1

2-5

1

2

4

White

4

0-1

0-0

0-0

0

1

0

Totals

200

24-62

6-10

12-36

13

12

59

Percentages: FG .387, FT .600. 3-Point Goals: 5-16, .313 (Ragland 2-3, Murry 1-1, Smith 1-4, Kyles 1-4, White 0-1, Williams 0-1, Stutz 0-2). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 4 (Murry, Hall, Ragland, Stutz). Turnovers: 12 (Ragland 3, Williams 2, Murry 2, Stutz, White, Smith, Cotton, Hall). Steals: 8 (Murry 4, Kyles 3, Ragland). Technical Fouls: None.

VCU

34

28

62

Wichita St.

25

34

59

Att.–NA. Officials–Patrick Adams, Dick Cartmell, Byron Jarrett.

Wrong guy, wrong time

Wichita State center Garrett Stutz is capable of making three-pointers. He is not the first choice with the game on the line, especially when he has to dribble and shoot on the move.

But the ball ended up in his hands in the final seconds. He had no choice, after taking a pass from Toure Murry. He hustled behind the arc to launch a desperation shot.

“My initial role was I was supposed to be the screener for a weak-side fade screen for a shooter,” he said. “I was kind of the last option at the top, when VCU read the play well. By the time I got the ball, I knew there wasn’t enough time to go for a two.”

The Rams got their preference on the play. Guard Joe Ragland, WSU’s best outside shooter, was nowhere near the ball. Neither was Ben Smith or David Kyles.

“Stutz had to hit a step-back three,” VCU’s Bradford Burgess said. “I’m not even sure it was a three. When we have shots like that at the end, we’re in pretty good favor.”

Seeding question

No. 12 VCU recorded the tournament’s first upset by beating fifth-seeded WSU. Since the field expanded to 64 teams (now 68) in 1985, No. 12 seeds have won 36 games over a No. 5.

Marshall didn’t sound like he regarded the Rams as a No. 12 seed.

“They’re a good basketball team, pretty obvious,” he said. “Forty-four teams in the country, I guess, are better than them. That’s hard for me to imagine.”

The Shockers lost six games in 2011-12, all to teams that played in a postseason tournament. Alabama, Temple, Creighton and VCU are in the NCAA Tournament. Illinois State won at Mississippi in the NIT on Wednesday. Drake is playing in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

WSU’s last three losses came with a lot of drama — in triple overtime at Drake (93-86), against Illinois State in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament (65-64) when two last-second shots went off target, and Thursday’s 62-59 loss to VCU.

HIs game to play

WSU junior Carl Hall was destined to play in this game. He chose the Shockers over VCU last spring out of Northwest Florida State College. The VCU band knew the recruiting story. They chanted “traitor” at Hall when he shot free throws in the first half.

Hall visited both schools before deciding he liked coach Gregg Marshall and WSU’s style of play. Both schools needed a veteran big man. WSU lost three seniors from its 2011 team. VCU lost Jamie Skeen, its leading scorer and rebounder.

“I just thought (WSU) was a better fit for me,” Hall said.

Hall was one of the few Shockers who played his game against VCU’s pressure. He finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, seven in the first half.

Helpful advice

Former Shocker Ramon Clemente, playing professionally in Israel, keeps up on his old team. On Thursday, he went to Twitter with his diagnosis of WSU’s first-half ills.

“Come on fellas don’t let them speed y’all up,” summarized the first half perfectly. VCU’s press took the Shockers out of their offense and rattled them. Late in the half, Tekele Cotton committed a charging foul that led to two VCU free throws and a 28-24 lead. A few seconds later, Jake White lost the ball and VCU scored for a 32-25 lead.

Two freshmen, two turnovers. The Rams did their job by putting the Shockers in uncomfortable situations.

Clemente, however, wasn’t worried.

“2nd half we get Stutz back in there we’ll be just fine, a few stops a lil spark were right back in it,” he wrote on Twitter.

Worth noting

WSU fell to 8-10 in NCAA games. VCU is 11-10 in the tournament and coach Shaka Smart is 6-1.… WSU’s 59 points was its lowest total since a 61-54 loss to Indiana State in the 2011 MVC Tournament. The Shockers scored a season-low 25 points in the first half.… WSU made 12 of 39 (30.7 percent) of its three-pointers and 46 of 125 shots (36.8 percent) in its final two games, the Illinois State loss in St. Louis and Thursday.… VCU out-rebounded WSU 37-36, the fifth time this season a team beat the Shockers on the boards.

— Wichita State rarely looked uncomfortable or frustrated through its first 32 basketball games. They won 27 with a consistency and certainty that teams rarely challenged.

The Shockers hadn’t played anybody like Virginia Commonwealth.

Twelfth-seeded VCU made the fifth-seeded Shockers very uncomfortable in Thursday’s 62-59 win in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at the Rose Garden. For most of the game, WSU didn’t resemble like the smooth-running machine that ascended to a top-20 ranking and looked like a solid candidate to play into the tournament’s second weekend, if not beyond.

“They definitely rushed us and took us out of our offense the whole game,” WSU senior Toure Murry said. “We had to play breakdown basketball, and that played into their hands.”

That summed up a crushing defeat for WSU (27-6). So did the vacant looks and red eyes in the WSU locker room. So did coach Gregg Marshall’s cracking voice. So did the look on Garrett Stutz’s face after his last-second three bounced off the rim. A season that seemed destined to roll on forever ended abruptly in the school’s first NCAA game since 2006.

The Shockers played brilliant basketball in February to set the stage for one of the program’s finest moments. In March, however, the Shockers failed to find that level. VCU (29-6) took it away with a fierce defensive effort that smothered WSU’s best offensive threats and disrupted a normally efficient half-court offense. The Shockers committed an acceptable 12 turnovers, which only tells part of the story of VCU’s defensive success, which held WSU to a season-low in points.

“They’re not just going to give you the ball,” VCU coach Shaka Smart said. “We felt like our pressure could bother them in other ways. They really weren’t able to run their sets as much as they normally do. They shot some turnovers, too. Any time you force a team to take a quick shot, and it’s not the best shot or the highest-quality shot, that’s just as good as a turnover.”

The last play of the game went the way much of the game did for WSU. VCU pressured WSU guard Joe Ragland to get the ball out of his hands and the play went nowhere from there. Murry rose up for a shot and a defender forced him to pass to Stutz. He had to back-pedal behind the three-point arc and shoot a desperation shot before the buzzer.

WSU coach Gregg Marshall said the play looked for several shooters coming off screens after a timeout with 12 seconds remaining. Nobody got open, and Murry tried to create.

“They’re not only athletic and play really hard, but they’re long and they are pretty aggressive,” Marshall said. “They did a good job on it. Joe couldn’t turn the corner. David (Kyles) was a little late using his screen to get to the left corner. So we ended up with that shot.”

Fitting, because much of the was defined by Ragland passing and Stutz missing guarded shots. Ragland scored 15 points, but VCU’s double-teams took the ball out of his hands for much of the game. He did not record an assist.

“I expected it, just because of percentages,” Ragland said. “I knew they would play the percentages. They obviously pressured the ball and the first half we didn’t handle it as well as we should have.”

Smart did exactly that, taking the ball out of the hands of a player who makes half his threes and making others score. He also made Ragland work against the press to tire him.

“He was the guy that concerned us more than anybody,” Smart said. “He’s gotten off in several games this year and had high 20s or 30s and you can’t beat them if he’s going to score that much. We decided to trap him out of ball screens and I think what that did is that it took away from his aggressiveness and made him pass the ball.”

With WSU’s offense out of whack, Stutz had a little role in the outcome of the game. He thrives in WSU’s halfcourt offense, and the Shockers rarely executed the sets that got him so many shots in the lane during the season. Stutz played 17 minutes, in part because of fouls, and missed 9 of 11 shots to score four points, nine below his team-leading average of 13.5. The Rams rarely allowed him to catch the ball close to the basket. When he did, he found shot-blockers in his way. Most damaging was a three-footer in the lane that he missed with 55 seconds remaining and WSU down 60-59.

“We’ve done a great job for the majority of the season holding teams under their average,” VCU guard Brandon Burgess said. “That was the emphasis on today’s game, holding Stutz and Ragland under their average.”

The Shockers trailed 34-25 at halftime, when VCU’s defense did its most damage and held WSU to 11-of-35 shooting. Halftime didn’t seem to help. The Rams led 46-33 with 13:41 remaining.

Then one of WSU’s five seniors made some plays. A switch to a zone defense slowed the Rams. WSU’s pressure defense rattled VCU. The game turned, almost enough for the Shockers to rally.

Senior guard David Kyles started the burst with a dunk after a turnover. His steal and layup cut VCU’s lead to 46-37. After a VCU miss, a long rebound started a rare fastbreak and Kyles swished a three to make it 46-40. Meanwhile, WSU’s zone choked off VCU’s drives and got the Rams standing around.

“It just slowed up their offense,” Murry said. “We got out to shooters and contested shots.”

WSU took its first lead since late in the first half on a corner three by Murry, 59-57 with 2:03 remaining. Burgess responded with a three, getting open in the corner against the zone, to regain the lead 60-59 with 1:29 to play. After Stutz missed the short shot, VCU rebounded and took a timeout with 28 seconds remaining. Guard Darius Theus drove past the front line of the zone and lofted a shot over Stutz that bounced around and in for a 62-59 lead with 20 second to play.

“I saw the middle was open,” Theus said. “I saw Stutz step up, so I know I had to float it high over him. I got a lucky bounce.”

WSU had no such luck on its final play.

Check Paul Suellentrop’s Shocker blog at blogs.kansas.com/shockwaves. Reach him at 316-269-6760 or psuellentrop@wichitaeagle.com.

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