PITTSBURGH - VCU and George Mason were locked in a tight A-10 quarterfinal battle until JeQuan Lewis took over the game.
With 7:16 to play, the Patriots held a 2 point lead, and the Rams took over. Lewis scored 8 points in a 16-2 VCU run which gave them a 12 point lead and they took it home from there.
"I just kept my optimism and kept shooting in the second half" said Lewis who had just 2 points in the first half but finished with 13 for the game. "It's my senior year and I wasn't going home. My coaches told me 'Take over now' so I just did whatever I needed to do.
Freshman De'Riante Jenkins led the Rams with 15 points while Jordan Burgess and Samir Doughty added 10 apiece. Jenkins missed several weeks this season with a broken bone in his foot suffered in VCU's first win over George Mason back in January.
"It was poetic justice" said head coach Will Wade. "He (Jenkins) gave us life when we got him in there. He's really good against zones. He's played really well in practice, it was nice to see him do it with the lights on."
Mason was led by Jalen Jenkins (no relation to De'Riante) with 15 points and kept the game tight with 10 lead changes and 9 ties. The two teams tied with 36 rebounds apiece but VCU outshot the Patriots 46-38 percent and made half their three point shots.
"This month, you've got to win them all sorts of ways" said Wade. "It's never pretty. It's a good trait that our team has to be able to mix it up and find different ways to make it happen."