Moving to the tougher Atlantic 10 has done nothing to keep VCU out of its conference tournament championship game.
Juvonte Reddic collected 18 points and 12 rebounds and Troy Daniels added 20 points off the bench as the second-seeded Rams beat Massachusetts 71-62 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., to reach the A-10 title game.
The Rams, ranked 22nd nationally, advanced to a 1 p.m. CBS showdown with 16th-ranked Saint Louis, the top seed.
Briante Weber of Chesapeake chipped in 11 points and Darius Theus of Portsmouth added 10 for VCU (26-7).
Chaz Williams scored 18 points and Cady Lalanne contributed 14 points and 12 rebounds for sixth-seeded UMass (21-11).
The Minutemen raced to a 20-11 lead but couldn’t sustain the pace. Daniels, who was 6-of-9 from behind the arc, hit three straight 3-pointers to key an 11-0 run as VCU moved in front.
Williams' jumper in the first minute of the second half gave UMass a 36-35 lead, but the Rams regained the lead for good on Daniels' 3-pointer eight seconds later.
VCU won the CAA tournament last season and was the runner-up in 2011 — when it famously advanced from the First Four to the Final Four. Unlike in the CAA, the Rams are secure in knowing they'll get an NCAA at-large bid if they don't win Sunday.
In the first semifinal, Dwayne Evans collected 24 points and 11 rebounds as Saint Louis beat Butler 67-56. Cody Ellis added 13 points off the bench for Saint Louis (26-6), which has won 14 of its last 14 games.
Rotnei Clarke scored 16 points to lead Butler (26-8), which is likely to receive an NCAA at-large bid.
Butler led by as many as seven in the first half, going up 24-17 on Kameron Woods’ jumper with 5:43 left in the period, but the Billikens reeled off a 10-1 run to end the half and took a 27-25 advantage into the break. An 8-0 run for a 50-41 lead put Saint Louis in control.
Adrian Powell scored 14 points as seventh-seeded North Carolina A&T won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament final 57-54 over Morgan State at Norfolk Scope Arena, advancing to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1995.
Lamont Middleton added 13 points for A&T (19-16), while Austin Witter pitched in 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. The Aggies were playing in their first MEAC championship game in 16 years.
Dewayne Jackson led Morgan State (17-15) with 20 points and seven rebounds, but missed two potential tying 3-pointers in the final nine seconds. The Bears were 8-for-21 at the free-throw line and 4-for-14 from 3-point land.
Powell blocked Jackson’s first 3-point try from the right wing with nine seconds left, but A&T’s Jeremy Underwood missed two free throws. Jackson double-clutched and missed again from the same spot on the floor with one second left.
Virginia Wesleyan's season ended in the NCAA round of 16 with an 84-75 loss to the Williams Ephs in Williamstown, Mass.
Chris Astorga scored 20 and Menchville High alumnus Chris Teasley 12 for the Marlins. Taylor Epley scored 26 and Michael Mayer 23 for Williams.
VWC (23-7) overcame deficits of 11-2 and 17-6 to lead 64-58 with 8:58 left. But the Ephs recovered, and with the game tied at 72, Epley's layup with 2:51 remaining began a decisive 7-0 burst. ...
Aaron Toomey poured in 25 points for the second consecutive game, and four other Lord Jeffs reached double figures as host Amherst (Mass.) used a hot first half to race past Randolph-Macon 93-76.
Like Williams, Amherst advanced to Friday's national quarterfinals in Salem Civic Center. Menchville High graduate Andre Simon led Randolph-Macon (21-10) with 20 points, but the Yellow Jackets couldn’t overcome holes of 32-11 and 42-17.
Third-seeded Drexel held second-seeded James Madison scoreless for nine minutes in the second half and defeated the Dukes 50-34 to reach the Colonial Athletic Association final against Delaware in Upper Marlboro, Md.
Hollie Mershon had 21 points, six rebounds and five assists for Drexel (22-9). JMU (22-10) likely is headed to the 64-team WNIT, in which it was the runner-up last season. The Dukes got 14 points from Norfolk's Toia Giggetts.
Top-seeded Delaware led wire-to-wire and beat Hofstra 75-54, extending the Blue Hens' school-record win streak to 24 as Elena Delle Donne had 21 points and 13 rebounds.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun