VCU headed back to Big Dance

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RICHMOND, Va. — Darius Theus had a career-high 16 points and five steals and Troy Daniels made four huge free throws in the final 19 seconds, allowing Virginia Commonwealth to hang on and beat top-seeded Drexel 59-56 Monday night in the championship of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.

Drexel's Frantz Massenat (center) tries to put a shot against VCU forward Juvonte Reddic (right) and guard Darius Theus during the CAA title game.  STEVE HELBER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
STEVE HELBER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Drexel's Frantz Massenat (center) tries to put a shot against VCU forward Juvonte Reddic (right) and guard Darius Theus during the CAA title game.

VCU (28-6) was the biggest story of last year’s NCAA Tournament, when coach Shaka Smart’s team reached the Final Four after being one of the last teams picked for the field. The Rams won’t have to wait for an at-large bid this season, but Drexel made it interesting after falling behind by 16 at halftime.

The Dragons (27-6), who had won a school-record 19 in a row, must hope for an at-large bid.

WEST COAST CONFERENCE

SAINT MARY’S 78, GONZAGA 74 (OT)

In Las Vegas, Matthew Dellavedova scored 22 points to lead Saint Mary’s to a victory against Gonzaga to claim its second West Coast Conference tournament title and automatic NCAA bid in three years.

It was the first time the Gaels (27-5) have won the regular-season title outright and claimed the tourney championship the same year.

Elias Harris led Gonzaga (25-6) with 22 points, including a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left in regulation to force the extra period.

METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

LOYOLA-MARYLAND 48, FAIRFIELD 44

In Springfield, Mass., Erik Etherly had 10 points and seven rebounds to lead Loyola-Maryland (24-8) back into the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1994 with a win in the MAAC championship game.

Rakim Sanders scored 12 points for Fairfield (19-14).

SYRACUSE: The school self-reported possible violations of its internal drug policy more than a year ago and the NCAA is investigating, according to school officials.

Kevin Quinn, the senior vice president for public affairs for the university, says the inquiry does not involve any current student-athletes.

In a report Monday, Yahoo Sports said a three-month investigation it conducted showed that the Syracuse men’s basketball program failed to adhere to the drug policy while playing ineligible players over the past decade.

The report, which cited anonymous sources, said at least 10 players since 2001 had tested positive for a banned recreational substance or substances.

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