The Atlantic 10 tournament was wide open when it started, and now it’s really wide open.
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No. 8 seed Rhode Island recorded the first big upset of the week, toppling No. 1 seed Virginia Commonwealth in the quarterfinals on Friday at the Barclays Center. VCU missed a game-tying 3-pointer with five seconds to play and Rhode Island clinched a 75-70 victory at the free-throw line moments later as VCU became the first No. 1 seed to lose its first game since Dayton lost to Davidson in the quarterfinals in 2017.
Jeff Dowtin scored 22 points for Rhode Island. Marcus Santos-Silva led VCU with 26 points. VCU lost its top scorer, Marcus Evans, in the first half when he suffered a hyper-extended knee. He had two points in 11 minutes.
VCU (25-7) appears assured of earning an at-large berth on Selection Sunday. That means the A-10 will get two teams into the NCAA tournament. The other bid will go to the tournament champion.
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This was VCU’s first loss since Jan. 23. It had won 12 games in a row.
Rhode Island (18-14) will play No. 4 seed Saint Bonaventure or No. 5 seed George Mason in the first semifinal at 1 p.m. Saturday.
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