Saturday, April 2, 2011, 9:36 p.m.
By Ryan OHalloran
HOUSTON -- A review of VCU's loss to Butler Saturday night at Reliant Stadium in the Final Four.
Why VCU lost: The Rams fell to Butler 70-62 for two key factors. The Bulldogs were able to match VCU from the 3-point stripe (each hitting eight triples) and Butler held an impressive 48-32 advantage on rebounds, including a 16-6 edge on offensive rebounds. Those two factors plus some bad rim luck for VCU a ton of shots that rolled in and out ended the Rams run.
The good: Senior Jamie Skeen played his final college game and was VCUs best player, scoring 27 points to go with six rebounds. Point guard Joey Rodriguez scored only three points but had eight assists and only two turnovers. The Rams forced Butler forward Matt Howard into 3-of-10 shooting. VCU rallied from a 5-0 deficit and started the second half with a 5-0 spurt.
The bad: Rodriguez shot 1-of-8 from the field. The Rams had only six offensive rebounds. VCU shot only 13 free throws compared to 26 for Butler. The Rams allowed Butler reserve guard Zach Hahn to go off for a short stretch in the second half (eight points in less than two minutes). Later in the game, VCU had no answer for Shelvin Mack, who was 5-of-6 on 3-pointers and scored 24 points. VCU was called for eight more personal fouls (24-16) than Butler.
Key moment: Trailing 61-57, VCU couldnt corral a loose rebound, which was picked up by Matt Howard, who completed the conventional 3-point play with less than a minute remaining. At the other end of the floor, Howard got a defensive rebound, was fouled and made two free throws to put away VCU.
Key stat: 19. Second-chance points by Butler, made possible by its 16 offensive rebounds. VCU had only six second-chance points.
VCU player of the game: Skeen. Butler had no answer for the forward, who hit 10 of 17 shots (including 3 of 4 from long range) and played well after getting his third foul early in second half.
Quote: Its a phenomenal run, really a historic run in NCAA tournament history and something these guys will never be forgotten for. But make no mistake about it, this one really stings. VCU coach Shaka Smart.
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