PORTLAND, Ore., March 16 (UPI) -- Bradford Burgess gave Virginia Commonwealth the lead with 1:30 to play Thursday and the Rams stunned Wichita State 62-59 in the NCAA tourney's second round.
The Rams have started this year's tournament the way they began last year's event, advancing in surprising and dramatic style. Virginia Commonwealth, criticized as unworthy of being in the tournament a year ago, made it all the way to the Final Four before losing to Butler in the semifinals.
This year the Rams are a No. 12 seed in the South Region and they knocked off the fifth-seeded Shockers by opening a 13-point lead in the second half and fighting off a late rally.
Virginia Commonwealth will face Indiana in the third round Saturday following the Hoosiers' second-round triumph over New Mexico State.
Toure Murry gave Wichita State its last lead by hitting a 3-pointer with 2:03 to go, but Burgess responded with his own long-range shot that put the Rams in front 60-59.
A jumper by Darius Theus boosted the Rams' advantage to three points with 12 seconds to go and they survived a missed 3-point try by Wichita State's Garrett Sturtz at the buzzer.
Burgess had 16 points for the Rams (29-6), who needed a three-point victory over regular-season champion Drexel to capture the Colonial Athletic Association tourney title. The 29 victories are a Virginia Commonwealth record.
Joe Ragland led Wichita State (27-6) with 15 points.