No Suspense in Dayton on Wednesday Night

March 14th, 2012

After the wild doubleheader that took place at UD Arena on Tuesday night college basketball fans were due for a letdown. That's exactly what happened on Wednesday as Vermont and USF won their games in comfortable fashion, paring the field down to 64 teams.

Four McGlynn scored 18 points in 27 minutes off the bench and Brian Voelkel provided his customary all-around game with 12 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Catamounts to the 71-59 win over Lamar. Vermont's award for the second NCAA tournament win in program history is a matchup with Midwest Region top seed North Carolina on Friday in Greensboro. 

"I got into a really good flow," said McGlynn. "My teammates, I have to give credit to them, because they're the ones, especially Brian Voelkel who gives me the ball in spots I'm wide open. It's easy to knock down open shots, especially when you're getting great passes." 

The first half boiled down to the simple fact that Pat Knight's Cardinals couldn't make shots, whether that was because of them missing good looks or the more likely reason that Vermont played well defensively. Lamar shot just 29% from the field in the first half, trailing 30-21 as a result. Lamar would shoot slightly better in the second half but so would the Catamounts, who knocked down 54.5% of their shots in the final 20 minutes. 

Mike James and Devon Lamb scored 16 points apiece to lead the Cardinals, who were unable to take advantage of 19 offensive rebounds. Lamar outscored Vermont 16-8 in second chance points, but that was nullified and then some by the Catamounts' 35-5 edge in bench points.

Lamar entered Wednesday having won six straight games, playing inspired basketball after their seniors were called out by Knight on February 22nd. But they were unable to get going offensively against a Vermont team that limits opponents to 40.5% shooting, and that proved to be their downfall. 

The second half of the doubleheader was about over by the under-8 timeout in the first half. USF was able to get just about whatever look they wanted against California, and their length and size on the defensive end proved to be too much for the Golden Bears. Cal took five minutes to score and they went into the locker room down 36-13 at the break.

A late run provided a deceiving 65-54 final score, with the Bulls picking up the first NCAA tournament win in school history. Victor Rudd Jr. led four Bulls in double figures with 15 points and five rebounds, and point guard Anthony Collins added 12. Collins may have had just one assist but Toarlyn Fitzpatrick and Hugh Robertson combined to dish out seven. 

Rudd was also productive on the defensive end as he was the primary defender on Allen Crabbe. Crabbe finished with ten points on 3-of-14 shooting, and as a team the Golden Bears made just 36.2% of their shots compared to USF shooting 57.1%. Say what you will about the Pac-12 but that shouldn't take away from how well the Bulls played, looking like a team more than capable of beating Temple on Friday night in Nashville. 

"I like what Coach said about getting in your breath and making you uncomfortable. That's what I tried to do to him," said Rudd of his strategy in guarding Crabbe. "I shadowed him wherever he went, and I didn't want to give him a good look off of it." 

Player of the Night: USF G Victor Rudd (15 points, five rebounds and limited Cal's Allen Crabbe to 3-of-14 shooting) 

Stat of the Night: Lamar shot 33.3% on the night. During their six-game win streak going into Wednesday they shot at least 42% in every game. 

Making history: USF picked up the school's first-ever NCAA tournament win, leaving Northwestern and Nebraska as the lone BCS AQ conference members still without one.