PITTSBURGH (AP) - Jared Terrell finished with 20 points and E.C. Matthews added 19, including a decisive runner with 55 seconds to go as Rhode Island earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999 with a 70-63 victory over Virginia Commonwealth in the Atlantic-10 title game on Sunday.
The third-seeded Rams (24-9) never trailed and withstood a serious late push by second-seeded VCU (26-8) to capture their first conference tournament title since Lamar Odom led them to the A-10 crown 18 years ago. It's the ninth time in Rhode Island history the program is going to the NCAAs.
JeQuan Lewis led VCU with 15 points and Justin Tillman had 10 points and 17 rebounds but VCU struggled to get anything going against Rhode Island. VCU shot just 31 percent (21 of 67) from the field and forced just six Rhode Island turnovers.
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