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VCU falls to Saint Mary's in NCAA First Round, 85-77

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Gonzaga Johnathan Williams dunks against South Dakota State

In addition to Landale, they have a number of solid players including; Calvin Hermanson, Emmet Naar and former Boston College teammate to Ryan Anderson, Joe Rahon.

Saint Mary's is coming off a great season.

After going into the half down 46-31, VCU closed the gap to two points midway through the second half, and it appeared fans in Utah's capital city might be in for another down-to-the wire finish.

VCU started out aggressive on offense. The program hasn't moved past that since 1959, when it made it to the Elite Eight. They took a 16-13 lead on the final one in that batch from Jonathan Williams. BPI's predictive component says Saint Mary's is in good position to outperform a typical 7-seed, and the seeding in the West amplifies the possibility and outlook for the Gaels in this tournament.

The victor of that match-up will advance to the Sweet 16.

VCU could not stop it from happening. The Rams shot 44.6 percent.

Once in front, the Gaels simply buried VCU in an increasingly larger hole. In fact, after simulating the tournament 10,000 times, Saint Mary's is actually the ninth-most likely team to win the tournament at 3.5 percent - well ahead of 3-seeds such as UCLA (2.2 percent), Baylor (1 percent) and Florida State (1.1 percent). Jordan Burgess punctuated the flurry by slashing to the rim for a layup and cutting the Gaels' lead to 54-45. That also ranks them last in that respective category for the entire NCAA, according to teamrankings.com.

Arizona's ability to play multiple tempos is one reason the Wildcats are considered a title contender. Rahon followed with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer a short time later, pushing the Gaels' lead to 63-56 with 8:17 remaining. They had, however, won a heap of games in their absence, then 28 more this season, with three of their four losses to Gonzaga. Saint Mary's did not score another field goal after that point, but VCU could pull no closer than six points the rest of the way.

VCU: The Rams just weren't able to impose their will on Saint Mary's, like it has against so many others. Lewis totaled a season-high 34 points against St. Joseph's on February 14.

JeQuan Lewis scored 30 points and led the Rams on a comeback in the 2nd half, but 7th-seeded Saint Mary's proved to be too resilient, defeating VCU 85-77 to advance to the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament. Four of those wins have come since 2009.

Saint Mary's lead was back in double-digits.

We saw the results of excessive turnovers during two stretches Thursday night - the only two stretches in which the Gaels ceded control of the game to VCU.

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