Unbelievable! VCU knocks off Kansas to earn Final Four berth

Virginia Commonwealth led by as many as 18 points in the first half, and then withstood a furious second-half Kansas rally to shock the top-seeded Jayhawks 71-61 on Sunday and advance to the first Final Four in the school’s history.

“We knew Kansas was going to make a run in the second half, but we never gave up the lead, and our guys kept fighting,” VCU coach Shaka Smart said after the historic upset.

VCU (28-11) became the first team to win five games to reach the Final Four after being forced into a First Four matchup as one of the final four teams to receive an at-large bid into the tournament as the #11 seed in the Southwest Region.

The Rams played again like the higher seed on Sunday, dominating the first 20 minutes of play en route to posting a 41-27 lead at the halftime break. A 12-2 KU run cut the lead to four at 43-39 at the 15:11 mark, and a Tyshawn Taylor three-point play brought the Jayhawks to within two at 46-44 with 13:13 left. Smart went to a zone defense at that point to try to slow Kansas down, and the strategy worked as VCU held Kansas to three points over the next 4:45 during an 11-3 run that put the lead at 57-47 on a Jamie Skeen dunk.

A pair of key threes by Joey Rodriguez and Bradford Burgess provided some needed breathing room as Kansas made one last run to cut the lead to 65-59 with 1:43 to go on a Markief Morris layup, but the Jayhawks would get no closer.

“We got prepared well by Coach. He prepared us really well, and we just went out there and executed what he told us to do,” said Skeen, who led the Rams with a career-high 26 points.

Brandon Rozzell scored 12 off the bench for VCU, which will play Butler next weekend in the national semifinals.

Marcus Morris had 20 points and 16 rebounds for Kansas (35-3).

The Virginia Commonwealth win completes an odyssey through the Southwest Region that included wins over Southern Cal from the Pac 10, Georgetown from the Big East, Purdue from the Big Ten, Florida State from the ACC and then Kansas from the Big 12.

“I’m so happy for all of our guys and all of our fans, everyone that believed in us all the way. We had to win five games to get here, but we did it,” Smart said.


UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Feedback from buyers: “Got the Book in the Mail Saturday, and could not put it down! Great read and great photography as well! Love all of the books I’ve received, but hands down, this is my favorite!” – Russell

Buy here.

augusta free press news
augusta free press news
augusta free press news