Home VCU advances to NIT quarterfinals; Norfolk State headed to CIT championship game

VCU advances to NIT quarterfinals; Norfolk State headed to CIT championship game

Chris Graham
(© nobeastsofierce – stock.adobe.com)

VCU and Norfolk State are the last teams in Virginia standing in March Madness.

The Rams advanced to the NIT quarterfinals with a 70-65 win over South Florida on Sunday night. The Spartans earned a spot in the championship of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament with an 81-66 win over Alabama A&M on Saturday night.

Virginia Tech lost out of the NIT in a second-round game on Saturday night, falling at Ohio State, 81-73.

JMU was bounced by Duke in an NCAA Tournament second-round game on Sunday, and the Tech women lost to Baylor in an NCAA Tournament second-round game on Sunday night.

ODU was knocked out of the WNIT on Sunday, and JMU and UVA were both eliminated from the WBIT earlier in the day on Sunday.

The Virginia men were one-and-done in the NCAA Tournament with a First Four loss to Colorado State.

So, it’s VCU in the NIT, Norfolk State in the CIT, or bust.

The Rams (24-13) led for the final 18:46, but South Florida (25-8) kept knocking at the door. The Bulls pulled to within 62-61 on a pair of Chris Youngblood free throws with 3:24 left.

Tobi Lawal answered a short time later, finishing through contact in the paint for an and-one bucket with 2:15 remaining. VCU senior guard Joe Bamisile scooped up an offensive rebound and laid the ball in to give the Rams some breathing room, at 66-61, with 1:26 on the clock.

The Bulls would again trim the lead to one on back-to-back scores by Youngblood and Selton Miguel. But Sean Bairstow and Lawal knocked down four free throws, and VCU’s defense forced a contested three by Youngblood with five seconds left, as the Rams held on.

VCU will face Utah (22-14) on Wednesday at 9 p.m. on ESPN2 for a shot at a trip to Madison Square Garden.

Norfolk State (23-11) will face the winner of Monday’s Tarleton State-Purdue Fort Wayne game on either Wednesday or Thursday for the CIT championship.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].