VCU-UCLA: Eric Maynor, Rams Fall Short Against Bruins

Chris BrooksCorrespondent IMarch 20, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 19:  Eric Maynor #3 of the VCU Rams shoots against Darren Collison #2 of the UCLA Bruins during the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Wachovia Center on March 19, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The CAA champion Virginia Commonwealth Rams were back in the Big Dance after a one-year hiatus and had a big test against another titan in college basketball, the UCLA Bruins.

Two years ago, Eric Maynor, then a sophomore, hit a jumper from the free throw line to stun the Duke Blue Devils 79-77 to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Rams were an 11-seed once again, and Maynor had the ball in his hands trying to hit the "dagger" over Darren Collison.

The shot was on target, but it fell short off the front rim, allowing the Bruins to escape with a 65-64 win and advance to play the Villanova Wildcats in the second round.

Eric Maynor scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the second half, due in big part to his charity stripe performance. Maynor converted 10-of-13 free throws, but missed 10 of his 15 field goal attempts.

All five Bruin starters scored in double figures, led by Josh Shipp, who scored a team-high 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting. The starters scored 60 of 65 points, and the team shot 40.4 percent from the field.

VCU shot 40.8 percent from the floor but were outrebounded 32-29, and shot only 72 percent from the charity stripe, as opposed to UCLA's 89.5 percent.

The Bruins will face the Villanova Wildcats on Saturday at Philadelphia's Wachovia Center at 1:05 p.m.

VCU finishes the season 24-10, and Eric Maynor's career is far from over, even though he will be leaving Richmond. Maynor is expected to be a late first to early second round pick in June's NBA draft.