And then there were eight: VCU advances to Elite Eight in dramatic fashion

A Bradford Burgess layup on an inbounds play with seven seconds to go extended Virginia Commonwealth’s Cinderella run as the Rams knocked off Florida State 72-71 in overtime in the Southwest Region semifinals Friday night.

The Rams (27-11) led by as many as nine points in the second half but went ice-cold in the final four minutes of regulation. A Chris Singleton three-pointer tied the game at 65 with 46 seconds to go and ultimately sent the game to overtime.

Singleton scored on a drive from the right corner to give FSU (23-11) a 71-70 lead with 30 seconds left, setting up the wild final sequence for VCU.

Rams point guard Joey Rodriguez had his shot blocked with 7.9 seconds left, but Virginia Commonwealth retained possession when the ball went out of bounds. Coach Shaka Smart called a timeout and set up a play designed to get Burgess open on a screen slip, and the play worked when Rodriguez, the inbounder, found Burgess wide open under the basket for a layup.

FSU coach Leonard Hamilton had a timeout in his bag, but elected not to use it. Derwin Kitchen drove into the lane but decided to kick the ball out to Singleton, who was not able to get a shot off before the final buzzer.

VCU, the #11 seed in the Southwest Region, advances to Sunday’s regional final against top-seeded Kansas, a 77-57 winner over #10 seed Richmond Friday night.

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