Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament – Semifinals
Score: #2 VCU 87, #3 Richmond 77
Location: Pittsburgh, Pa. (PPG Paints Arena)
Records: VCU 26-7, Richmond 20-12
The short story: Senior JeQuan Lewis buried a game-tying 3-pointer from the right wing with 25 seconds left in regulation and senior Mo Alie-Cox helped VCU power past Richmond in overtime to send the Rams back to the Atlantic 10 Championship Game for the fifth straight year. VCU will meet fourth-seeded Rhode Island, which topped Davidson in Saturday's other semifinal, in the title game Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. VCU will be seeking its second A-10 Tournament crown.
- Lewis led four VCU players in double figures with 18 points. Alie-Cox added 15 points – five in the extra period – and nine rebounds. Redshirt freshman Samir Doughty contributed 17 points off the VCU bench.
- The Rams outrebounded Richmond 45-29 and also held a 17-5 advantage in second chance points.
- Junior Justin Tillman posted a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Rams. It's the 10th double-double of the season for the 6-7 forward.
- The Rams beat Richmond for the third time this season, going 3-0 against the Spiders.
- VCU's bench outscored Richmond's 35-2.
- Richmond's De'Monte Buckingham scored a game-high 26 points as the Spiders' starting five scored 75 of the team's 77 points.
- After leading for 17 minutes in the first half, Richmond reclaimed the lead at 42-41 with 15:05 left in regulation. The two teams combined for 10 ties and six lead changes in the second half.
- Richmond's Nick Sherod gave the Spiders a 71-68 lead with a 3-pointer from the right wing with 36.3 seconds left. On the ensuing play, VCU's Johnny Williams found Lewis, who rose over the top of a screen and launched a high-arcing triple to tie the score. Richmond's Shawn'Dre Jones could not find pay dirt on a contested 17-footer on the Spiders final possession in regulation.
- VCU scored the first six points in the overtime period, including layups by Alie-Cox and Doughty. A short time later, Alie-Cox converted a traditional three-point play that pushed the Rams in front 80-73 with 2:01 remaining.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- VCU will play for a conference championship for the seventh consecutive season when it faces Rhode Island. VCU won championships in 2012 (CAA) and 2015 (A-10) during that stretch. Rhode Island, which has not claimed the title since 1999, will be appearing in its first championship game since 2007.
- The Rams have played in every Atlantic 10 Championship Game since joining the conference. VCU is 12-3 all-time in A-10 Tournament play and 76-25 against conference competition.
- Tillman has recorded all 10 of his double-doubles since the start of conference play.
- VCU improved to 51-28 all-time against Richmond.
- The A-10 Championship Game at 12:30 Sunday at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. CBS will televise that contest.