VCU held UCF scoreless for the first 6:22 of the game, and sources say it would have helped the Rams’ chances if that streak extended another 33 minutes.
Instead, the Knights finally got on the board, then later used a 19-0 run spanning both halves to beat the Rams comfortably, 73-58, in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.
UCF advances to face Duke on Sunday as Knights coach Johnny Dawkins will go up against his former coach, Mike Krzyzewski.
A week after Marcus Santos-Silva had the first 20-20 game ever in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, Tacko Fall went for 13 points, 18 rebounds, and five blocks against VCU.
Marcus Evans, who left that A-10 Tournament game with an injury, was off his game on Friday. The Rams’ leading scorer had just six points on 1-7 shooting and committed six turnovers.
The Rams made a run late, however, cutting what was an 18-point deficit to as few as six points on a three from De’Riante Jenkins with 4:55 left. But UCF scored the next 12 points to put the game away.
VCU ends the season with back-to-back losses to lower-seeded opponents (8 seed Rhode Island in the A-10 Tournament and the the 9 seed UCF). That puts somewhat of a damper on a season that included a wild 12-game winning streak in conference play. That streak catapulted them to an Atlantic 10 regular season title.
The good news for VCU is that it has no seniors on the roster who contributed serious minutes. The Rams should be early favorites to return to the NCAA Tournament next year.