UCLA Holds Off VCU in NCAA First Round, 65-64
March 19, 2009
PHILADELPHIA - A long way from home, UCLA barely kept alive its quest for a fourth straight trip to the Final Four.
VCU's Eric Maynor missed a contested 17-footer at the buzzer and the sixth-seeded Bruins held on for a 65-64 victory over the Rams on Thursday night in the first round of the East Regional.
UCLA (26-8) advances to play Villanova (27-7) on Saturday.
Maynor led Virginia Commonwealth with 21 points. The Rams (24-10) from the Colonial Athletic Conference were a popular pick to pull off a 6-11 upset against the Pac-10 powerhouse -- even President Barack Obama circled VCU in his bracket.
But UCLA wasn't ready to go home.
Trailing 63-60 with 1:19 left, VCU pulled within a point on a pair of free throws by Bradford Burgess. Alfred Aboya answered with two free throws for the Bruins. Then Maynor hit a pair for the Rams.
Larry Sanders blocked Darren Collison's shot at the opposite end, giving VCU the ball and a chance to win with 11.6 second left.
But Collison made up for it on the defensive end.
Maynor, whose last-second shot knocked out Duke in the first round two seasons ago, got the ball and was closely guarded Collison. Maynor couldn't get a clean look and his shot grazed the front of the rim and time ran out.