by Matt Lincoln
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - VCU was hoping for a win they'd still be talking about on Selection Sunday. And that's exactly what they got in Winston-Salem.
The Rams crushed ACC foe, Wake Forest, 90-69, to advance to the 2010 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Final Four next week at Madison Square Garden.
Jamie Skeen, a transfer from Wake Forest, was a force down low scoring 15 points. Junior Bradford Burgess led the Rams in the scoring column with 25 points, while senior Joey Rodriguez became the 30th VCU player in history to reach 1,000 points with 17 points on the night.
With the Demon Deacons leading 6-4 early, Burgess and Skeen led a 16-3 run that quickly gave the Black & Gold all the momentum and grab a 20-9 advantage with 10:12 to play in the first half.
The Demon Deacons would keep up the push early in the second half as a lay-up from Melvin Tabb with 13:57 to play gave Wake a 53-49 cushion.
In six of the next seven Wake Forest possessions, the Rams forced turnovers, which ignited a 16-2 run and gave the Black & Gold a double-digit cushion at 65-55 with 11 minutes remaining.
The lead would remain in double-digits for most of the second half thanks to 14 second-half points from Rodriguez. His three-pointer with 9:19 to play gave him exactly 1,000 points and he then added to that to end the game with exactly 1,003 points in his three-plus years at VCU.
The Rams will now await to hear their next opponent after the first rounds of the NIT Season Tip-Off wrap up on Wednesday. Tickets for Madison Square Garden will be made available through the VCU Ticket Office on Wednesday morning.