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VCU ties school record for wins on a season, into CAA final

RICHMOND, Va. -- Jesse Pellot-Rosa scored 16 points and hit all four of his 3-point shots Sunday, leading Virginia Commonwealth to a 63-56 victory against Drexel and into the championship game of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.

The Rams (26-6) tied their school record for victories in a season and advanced to Monday night's title game against George Mason.

Drexel (23-8) trailed 34-24 at halftime and by as many as 18 in the second half, but rallied to within 54-49 with 2:14 to play before the top-seeded Rams closed it out.

Michael Anderson also scored 16 for VCU and B.A. Walker had 14.

Frank Elegar led the Dragons with 15 points and Bashir Mason had 12.

Pellot-Rosa's 3-pointers 39 seconds apart capped a 14-3 run for VCU early in the second half that gave them a 48-30 lead and made a surprising blowout seem imminent.

But Rams coach Anthony Grant gave most of his starters a long breather with the big lead, and Drexel tightened its defensive pressure and went on a 12-0 run. The Rams were 0-for-4 from the field during 7 1/2 scoreless minutes and turned it over five times.

But when the starters came back, Walker broke the dry spell with a layup with 7:39 remaining and Wil Fameni hit two free throws with 4:32 to go, building the lead to 10.

The Dragons got as close as five, but no closer thereafter.

The teams met only once in the regular season, with VCU winning 75-68 in Philadelphia on Jan. 27. Elegar sat out that game serving a one-game suspension mandated by the conference for unsportsmanlike conduct during a previous game.

Elegar was dominant inside, making 7 of 9 shots, but the rest of the Dragons were just 15-for-39 from the field and Drexel was 3-for-16 on 3s. VCU was 7-for-11.

Both teams had more turnovers than baskets in a frenetic first half, which the Rams closed with a 16-4 run to lead 34-24 at the break. VCU's 13 turnovers in the half easily exceeded their 11.1 per-game average, and the Dragons gave it away 12 times.

Two of the Rams' turnovers in the first 3 1/2 minutes came on offensive fouls against point guard Eric Maynor, who went to the bench and watched the final 16:28.

Dominick Mejia was 0-for-8 from the field in the half for Drexel.