VCU fall to USF in OT

by Matt Lincoln

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Rams made the Bulls see red, but in the end they fell just short.  VCU fell at South Florida Wednesday night 60-59 in overtime.

The Black & Gold were down by 18 points in the first half and forced a furious comeback, taking their first lead with under a minute to go in regulation.

Junior Bradford Burgess tallied his third career double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds, while senior Jamie Skeen continued to be a force down low with 16 points and six rebounds for the Rams.

VCU couldn't contain the big front line of South Florida, getting outrebounded 45-35 on the night, with Ron Anderson, Jr. leading the way with 13 boards, nine of which came on the offensive glass.

Early on it was all South Florida as the Bulls ran out to a 28-10 advantage with under seven minutes to play in the first half behind 12 points from Hugh Robertson, including two three-pointers.

Freshman Rob Brandenberg would come off the bench to spark a VCU comeback that saw the Bulls limited to just two points over the final 6:47, while the Rams closed within 10 at 30-20 heading into the break.

South Florida extended its lead to 12 early in the second half, before Burgess took over, drilling three shots from beyond the arc to get the Rams within one at 40-39 with 10:20 left in regulation.

The Bulls would push their cushion back to six, but three late turnovers allowed VCU to take its first lead of the game when senior Joey Rodriguez connected on a three-pointer with 40 seconds remaining to give the Rams a 50-49 lead.

After Jawanza Poland reclaimed the lead on a three-point play, St. Petersburg, Fla. native Ed Nixon would thrill his large cheering section with a drive to the basket that sent the game to overtime at 52-52.

In the extra frame, South Florida would take a six-point lead but once again the Rams responded by climbing within one on three free-throws from Skeen after he drew an intentional foul on Augustus Gilchrist. After getting a stop in the half court, the Black & Gold had a chance with just under 10 seconds to play, but Burgess' drive to the basket was just off the mark and sent VCU home on the wrong end of a 60-59 decision.

Saturday will bring the start of the conference season for the Black & Gold with a visit from the Tribe of William & Mary. The game, which will be televised on Comcast SportsNet, is set to tip at 12:06 p.m.

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