In an NCAA Tournament that has seen some craziness so far, the match-up between 5-seed VCU and 12-seed Stephen F Austin may have been the craziest. The Lumberjacks converted an improbable four-point play in the final seconds to tie the game before sneaking away with a big 77-75 overtime upset. It was a crushing loss for not only VCU, but for the Atlantic 10 as a whole. The A-10 now stands at 2-4 in the Dance, and the only two surviving teams are facing tall tasks tomorrow.
But first, this game. SFA actually controlled things pretty well in the first half as they took a 36-30 lead into the break. But then HAVOC happened. The Rams reeled off an incredible 24-3 run to turn a 10-point deficit into an 11-point lead. The Lumberjacks were held to just one field goal in a 12:07 span as the patented VCU defense went to work. But a barrage of threes, layups, and free throws in the next five minutes had Stephen F Austin back within striking distance. It was a 65-61 Virginia Commonwealth lead with 32 seconds to play, but all Shaka Smart’s team had to do was hit their free throws to close it out.
Not so fast. VCU shot just 2-6 from the stripe in the final half minute, but they were still up four with 10 seconds to play. All they needed to do was NOT. FOUL. Whoops. SFA’s Desmond Haymon buried a three-pointer with three seconds to play and got fouled, and his four-point play sent things into overtime.
The OT period saw back and forth basketball for nearly the entire frame as neither team led by more than three points. With the Lumberjacks up two and five seconds to play, VCU’s JeQuan Lewis had a clean look at a wide open three. But the potential game-winner rimmed out as SFA advanced in an absolute thriller.
The Lumberjacks have now won an insane 29-straight games. It’s no Wichita State, but it’s quite impressive. They’ll advance to play the winner of UCLA and Tulsa on Sunday.