VCU 75, Northeastern 65: Rams Knock Huskies Off Behind Big Second Half

For twenty-three minutes Northeastern managed to stay with one of the best teams in the Colonial Athletic Association and a possible NCAA Tournament team, then the inevitable surge began. The essentially hometown Rams, VCU's campus is in Richmond, built their lead to as large as 20 and eventually outscored the Huskies 49-39 to give them the final margin.

VCU (14-17) used 25 turnovers and a 46-4 advantage in bench points to spur the surge as the Rams ended Northeastern's (26-6) CAA Tournament with a 75-65 Quarterfinal victory.

Junior guard Joel Smith and freshmen forward Reggie Spencer led Northeastern with 17 points apiece and Jonathan Lee added 16, as the trio finished with 50 of the Huskies 65 points. While Ford added 11 rebounds for his second consecutive impressive postseason performance, Smith and Lee struggled again for Northeastern. The co-captains committed 13 of the team's 25 turnovers and while combining for just three assists from the point guard position.

Kashief Edwards, the lone Huskies senior, played just three minutes off the bench and went 0-1 while being whistled for a foul. Edwards was one of five bench players to see time for Bill Coen and the results weren't pretty. In 36 minutes, the group managed just four points (all from Demetrius Pollard), five rebounds, two assists and four turnovers.

Virginia Commonwealth on the other side needed everything they could get from their bench with the starters shooting just 11-of-30 for 29 points. Sophomore guard Rob Brandenberg (19 points) and freshmen guard Treveon Graham (16 points) made up for the starters with 35 points on 12-of-20 shooting.

Senior swingman Bradford Burgess was the lone Rams starter to reach double-figures as he finished with 10 points and two rebounds.

The Rams led from start to finish in Richmond but Northeastern didn't make it easy, at least not through the first half. After VCU jumped out to an 18-9 lead midway through the first half, the Huskies used three 3-pointers and some strong free throw shooting to tie the game at 26 heading into the half.

After the teams traded baskets over the first two minutes of the second half, Virginia Commonwealth began their onslaught with a 7-0 run (36-28) in less than two minutes. It was just the start, as the Rams would extend the lead to 65-45 with 5:44 and easily withstood the Huskies late charge.

Virginia Commonwealth will take on the winner of (6) Georgia State and (3) George Mason in Sunday's second semifinal game. The other semifinal will pit top seeded (1) Drexel against (4) Old Dominion.

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