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Skeen’s stellar night not enough vs. Butler


Butler cooled off VCU’s hot hand in the Final Four. Well, everyone’s except Jamie Skeen.

The senior forward was one of the bright spots in the Rams’ 70-62 loss Saturday night, scoring from inside and out. His 27 points (10-of-17 shooting) were a game-high and his 1.34 PPWS showed he did it efficiently. The rest of the Rams were 13 of 41.

The only thing that kept from doing more? An occasional need to rest. He “only” played 32 minutes, though that was also related to foul trouble in the second half.

“We called some stuff for Jamie,” coach Shaka Smart said. “Could he have gotten it more? Sure. But I thought he got the ball a pretty good amount.”

Skeen also wasn’t worried about getting his shot more.

“I wasn’t frustrated at all,” he said. “We got other good players on the team that can score as well. I don’t have to touch the ball every time for us to score.”

During VCU’s five other tournament wins, that was true. The Rams made 43.8 percent of their 3-point attempts, up six percent from their season average. That didn’t happen Saturday. And not only did the Rams miss shots, but they got killed on the boards and had one more turnover than Butler.

But one loss in the Final Four doesn’t sour what the Rams have done.

They went from the First Four to the Final Four, reaching the final weekend for the first time in the school’s history and becoming just the fourth mid-major team to play in the Final Four since 1980. That’s something worth applauding, no matter how it ended up.

“This whole season was great. It was a great run. We made history,” Skeen said. “We kept making history. We went deep into the tournament and we did what everybody said we couldn’t do. I couldn’t be more proud of my teammates.”

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.