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VCU, Smart score another NCAA upset

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Bradford Burgess hit a key 3-pointer with 1:33 left and Shaka Smart coached VCU to another tournament surprise, holding off Wichita State 62-59 in the South Regional on Thursday.The 12th-seeded Rams (29-6) led by as many as 13 in the second half, but the Shockers closed to 54-53 on Garrett Stutz's layup with 5:39 left. Troy Daniels hit a 3-pointer for the Rams, and Joe Ragland answered with his own for Wichita State.

Toure Murry made a 3 that gave Wichita State the lead, but Burgess came back with his big shot to give the Rams a 60-59 edge. Darius Theus' runner from about six feet provided the final margin.

Stutz's long jumper just before the buzzer was off for fifth-seeded Wichita State (26-6). Ragland finished with 15 points after getting off to a slow start.

Burgess finished with 16 points, and Theus and Daniels had 10 points apiece for the Rams, who beat Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State and Kansas in the tournament last year, becoming just the third No. 11 seed to reach the Final Four. The run ended when they lost to Butler in Houston.

Virginia Commonwealth (29-8) earned a second straight tournament berth by edging Drexel 59-56 in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament this season.

Wichita State was ranked No. 18 in the final The Associated Press poll. The Shockers won the regular-season title in the Missouri Valley Conference, but lost to Illinois State in the semifinals of the conference tournament.

It was the first NCAA tournament appearance for Wichita State since 2006, when it advanced to the regional semifinals.

There were lots of missed shots on both sides early, but Rob Brandenberg hit a 3-pointer to put VCU in front 17-13 midway through the first half.

Wichita State put together an 11-0 run to make it 24-21 with 5:27 left. Carl Hall capped the surge with a layup.

Treveon Graham broke the VCU scoring drought with a jumper and Burgess added a 3-pointer, sparking a 13-1 run that lifted the Rams to a 34-25 lead at the break.

Burgess scored 13 points during a dominating first half, except for an errant 3-pointer that fell far short of the basket.

Virginia Commonwealth stretched the lead to 41-29 after Brandenberg's layup. His jumper a short time later gave the Rams a 46-33 lead, but Ben Smith had a layup before David Kyles scored five quick points to trim VCU's lead to 46-40.

Ragland, who was quiet most of the first half, made a 3-pointer with 7:23 left and Stutz, the Shockers' 7-foot center, tapped in a shot to get Wichita State within one at 54-53.

In their only previous meeting, VCU beat the Shockers 68-67 in Wichita last season. Senior Joey Rodriquez had 15 points and 11 rebounds in the victory, while Jamie Skeen, also departed this season, had 11 points and 12 rebounds. Two late free throws were the difference.