WICHITA, Kan. - Wichita State took a one-point lead in the final five seconds, but VCU answered with two free throws with less than one second left on the clock to grab a 68-67 men's basketball win Friday.
Two free throws from Shocker guard Joe Ragland with 4.9 seconds left in the game pushed the Shockers to a 67-66 lead in the Sears BracketBusters game at Charles Koch Arena.
But Ragland picked up a foul at the opposite end of the court, sending VCU guard Joey Rodriguez to the free-throw line with .8 seconds remaining. Rodriguez converted both attempts to seal the win in front of a sellout crowd of 10,506. Shocker guard David Kyles took a shot at the buzzer, which hit the rim and missed.
The non-conference loss ended a two-game winning streak for the Shockers, who fell to 22-6 overall.
VCU, which competes in the Colonial Athletic Association, improved to 21-8 and won for the first time in three games.
Bradford Burgess led all scorers with 17 points for VCU. Jamie Skeen grabbed 12 rebounds for the Rams.
Ragland led the Shockers with 15 points. Ben Smith (11) and J.T. Durley (10) also finished with double-digit points totals for Wichita State.
VCU took a 5-0 lead in the game's opening moments, but a three-point play from Durley and two free throws from Smith tied the game, 5-5. A three-pointer from Ragland pushed the Shockers to their first lead of the game, 8-7.
Three consecutive 3-pointers from Smith, Durley and Ragland put the Shockers ahead, 17-11. The Shockers' winning margin grew to eight points with a fastbreak layup from Kyles.
The Rams used a 13-4 run to grab the lead back, 26-25, and extended out to a four-point lead on a 3-pointer from Skeen.
VCU took a 45-38 lead into halftime, led by 10 points each from Burgess and Skeen. Skeen also grabbed seven rebounds as VCU took a 20-13 margin on the boards. Durley led Wichita State with eight points in the first half.
Back-to-back layups from Toure' Murry to open the second half brought the Shockers to within three points, 45-42, less than 60 seconds into the half.
VCU extended back out to a seven-point lead, but a jumper from Aaron Ellis and Smith layup cut the score to, 56-53, with about 12 minutes remaining in the game.
Both teams played a stretch of 6:32 without a field goal late in the second half.
Smith tied the game, 59-59, during the stretch with two field goals with 5:26 left on the clock. Murry gave the Shockers a 61-59 lead with two free throws during the same stretch.
Kyles went to the line to shoot three free throws with 14.4 seconds left on the clock and made two to cut the score to, 66-65.
Wichita State closes out the home portion of its regular-season schedule with a 7:05 p.m. senior night game Wednesday against Creighton at Charles Koch Arena. The Shockers close out the regular season on the road at noon Feb. 26 at Missouri State.
- Wichita State -