Treveon Graham scored 17 point as hot-shooting VCU beat Saint Joseph's 82-79 in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament Friday night in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The Rams, seeded second and ranked 25th by The Associated Press, made 11 3-pointers to build a double-digit lead in the second half before the Hawks' frantic comeback in the final minutes fell short. VCU will face Massachusetts in a semifinal at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Barclays Center.
Darius Theus, from Norcom High, had 12 points and six assists, making all five of his field-goal attempts. Five players scored in double figures for VCU (25-7).
Tenth-seeded Saint Joseph's pulled within 80-76 with 9.1 seconds left, but Theus found an open Briante Weber downcourt for an emphatic slam to cap the victory. Weber, from Great Bridge High in Chesapeake, set a VCU single-season record for steals.
Carl Jones scored 29 points and Langston Galloway had 25 for the Hawks (18-13).
The Rams left behind the advantage of playing their conference tournament in Richmond when they departed the Colonial Athletic Association for the A-10 this season. Not that anyone could tell Friday, with a large contingent of fans in black and gold roaring every time VCU forced a turnover or drained a 3-pointer.
Also in the crowd at Brooklyn's Barclays Center was noted New York City basketball fan Spike Lee.
VCU scored seven straight points in 90 seconds to break open the game midway through the second half. The Hawks' Halil Kanacevic, who was also in the middle of some chippy moments in the first half, was called for a flagrant foul after his elbow smacked Graham in the jaw as the Saint Joseph's forward drove to the basket.
Graham made both free throws, then Troy Daniels made a 3 for a five-point possession. When Theus blew past Jones for an uncontested layup, VCU was suddenly up 58-43.
The Rams forced 17 turnovers and converted them into 25 points. Weber made five steals.
More Atlantic 10 quarterfinals:
Chaz Williams, a 5-foot-9 guard, had his second straight big game back home in Brooklyn, scoring 28 points as sixth-seeded Massachusetts upset No. 3 Temple 79-74. The Minutemen sent their rivals out of the A-10 with a loss.
"I was just doing what the team needs me to do," Williams said.
Terrell Vinson added 15 points, including a 3-pointer in the final minute with the shot clock winding down and UMass clinging to a two-point lead.
Conference Player of the Year Khalif Wyatt shot just 4-for-19 for Temple, with Williams one of the players tasked with guarding him. Wyatt was 9-for-10 on free throws to finish with 19 points for the Owls, who still likely will make the NCAA tournament. ...
Rotnei Clarke led five Bulldogs in double figures with 14 points in Butler's 69-58 win over La Salle. The Explorers must await their NCAA tournament fate.
Khyle Marshall had 13 points, and Andrew Smith added 11 points and eight rebounds for the fifth-seeded Bulldogs, who face regular-season champion Saint Louis in Saturday's semifinals.
Clinging to a one-point lead early in the second half, Butler went to work inside. Smith scored in the paint, Marshall had a dunk, and Kameron Woods completed a three-point play after a putback.
The 11-2 run gave the Bulldogs (26-7) a double-digit lead, and they held off fourth-seeded La Salle (21-9) the rest of the way.
Tyreek Duren led the Explorers with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting.
Saint Louis, ranked 16th nationally, beat Charlotte 72-55 as Dwayne Evans had 25 points and nine rebounds.
In the last game, No. 3 Temple was to face No. 6 Massachusetts.
Adrian Powell had 23 points and nine rebounds as No. 7 seed North Carolina A&T beat No. 6 Delaware State 84-78 to reach the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament final at Norfolk Scope Arena.
The Aggies will play for the crown and an automatic NCAA tournament bid at 5 p.m. Sunday against No. 5 Morgan State.
Tahj Tate, the hero of Delaware State's quarterfinal win over Hampton, had 19 points and six rebounds.
Morgan State's Shaquille Duncan scored 17 points, and Justin Black and DeWayne Jackson added 16 each as the Bears defeated Bethune-Cookman 82-71.
The fifth-seeded Bears (17-14), the highest seed to reach the semifinals in a tournament in which the top four lost in the quarterfinals, held Adrien Coleman, the conference scoring leader, to eight points. He had totaled 52 points for the eighth-seeded Wildcats (14-20) in tournament victories over Coppin State and top-seeded Norfolk State.
Morgan State scored the first seven points and never trailed in extending its winning streak to eight games. The Bears shot 64.3 percent (18 of 28) in the first half and took a 39-31 lead into the break.
Kevin Dukes led Bethune-Cookman with 20 points.
Saadia Doyle propelled third-seeded Howard past No. 2 North Carolina A&T 55-42 to earn a berth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament final at Norfolk Scope Arena.
The Bison, coached by Phoebus High graduate Niki Reid Geckeler, got 27 points and 10 rebounds from Doyle, a first-team All-MEAC choice. They will face three-time defending champion Hampton University, the No. 1 seed, at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Eboni Ross and JaQuayla Berry scored 10 apiece for the Aggies.
James Madison struggled with its shooting for much of the game but never trailed in a 59-48 victory over Towson in the Colonial Athletic Association women's tournament's first round in Upper Marlboro, Md.
The second-seeded Dukes advanced to Saturday's 4:30 p.m. semifinal in The Show Place Arena against third-seeded Drexel, which easily eliminated William and Mary.
Freshman Precious Hall led JMU with 16 points, eight of which came in the first 5:25 of the second half as the Dukes expanded a nine-point halftime lead to 17. Senior guard Tarik Hislop added 13 points and junior Kirby Burkholder had 10 points. Redshirt freshman Jazmon Gwathmey grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds and blocked three shots.
Towson, despite Tanisha McTiller's 27 points and Michelle Peebles' 13, had its three-game winning streak snapped and ended with a 12-18 record. Its coach, Joe Mathews, recently had been told he will not be retained.
In the other half of the bracket, top-seeded Delaware struggled to a 51-43 victory over No. 9 UNC Wilmington behind Elena Delle Donne's 21 points and 13 rebounds.
The Blue Hens (28-3) extended their school-record winning streak to 23 and defeated their 40th straight CAA opponent.
The Blue Hens trailed 20-15 at halftime and 30-28, but then went on an 8-0 run. ...
The Blue Hens will play their semifinal at 2 p.m. Saturday against No. 5 Hofstra, which overcame No. 4 Northeastern 57-52 to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2007.
Sophomore guard Andreana Thomas had 15 points and senior forward Candace Bond added nine points, nine rebounds and three blocks for the Pride (14-16), which avenged two regular-season losses to the Huskies (17-13).Copyright © 2015, CT Now