BROOKLYN, N.Y. — VCU prides itself on wreaking havoc, but it was the Villanova Wildcats who played a helter-skelter brand of basketball in the semifinals of the Progressive Legends Classic Monday at the Barclays Center.
Villanova used a massive second-half blitz to turn back VCU 77-53
The loss was the worst for VCU since a 71-51 decision to George Mason on February 5th, 2011.
Forward Jay Vaughn Pinkston led No. 12 Villanova (4-0) with 15 points, guard Darrun Hilliard scored 14 points and forward Kris Jenkins had 13. Guard Josh Hart scored 10 points of the bench.
No. 14 VCU (3-1) was paced by guard Melvin Johnson and Briante Weber, who scored 13 points each.
The Wildcats play the winner of the Michigan-Oregon game in Tuesday’s final.
The Wildcats shut down one of the country’s best offensive teams. VCU was averaging 92.7 points until they were stymied by Villanova’s man-to-man approach.
Coach Jay Wright’s team turned VCU’s high-scoring backcourt tandem into non-factors. Senior Treveon Graham and Johnson were averaging 18 points apiece for the Rams, but ended the night with four and 13 points, respectively.
VCU opened the second half with a 6-0 run to move ahead 36-32, then the Wildcats went on a 16-0 burst to re-take the lead 48-36 with just under four minutes gone in the half.
Hilliard and Kris Jenkins contributed five points apiece in the run. The Rams couldn’t recover.
NOTES: This was the eighth game VCU played at the Barclays Center, the host of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament. … The Rams scored 85 or more points in each of their first three games for only the second time in school history. … The Rams have led the country in steals per game for three straight seasons. … Villanova was a unanimous selection to finish first in Big East Conference in the preseason voting by the coaches.
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