RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The 12-seed VCU Rams (27-7) bowed out of the NCAA Tournament in the first round against 5-seed Saint Mary’s Gaels (26-7) by a score of 63-51.
VCU Men’s Basketball earned its bid to the tournament outright and the team stamped its ticket after becoming champions of the Atlantic-10.
The Gaels controlled the offense throughout the game. VCU managed to play high-intensity defense but lost several key offensive rebounds, which Saint Mary’s ultimately capitalized into points.
Free throws were a consistent problem for the Rams throughout the game, and matters were made worse when star player and A-10 Player of the Year Ace Baldwin was forced off with an injury scare for a matter of minutes in the second half.
After some quick taping and evaluation by the medical staff, Baldwin reentered the game and changed the momentum temporarily before Saint Mary’s reclaimed an 11-point lead.
VCU’s Jalen DeLoach fouled out in the second half after having to deal with the constant double-threat of the Gaels’ Mitchell Saxen and Alex Ducas.
Turnovers, miscommunication and failure to secure rebounds prevented the Rams from keeping the score closer.
The Rams’ loss, in addition to UVA’s first-round loss Thursday, means no Virginia teams are left in the Men’s 2023 NCAA Tournament after the first two days.
The Gaels will go on to play the winner of 4-seed UConn and 13-seed Iona in the second round.