Wednesday's local basketball roundup: Smart agrees to VCU contract extension through 2023

College BasketballBasketballSportsCollege SportsJames Madison DukesVirginia Commonwealth RamsGeorge Mason Patriots

VCU’s fervent fan base again can rest easy.

Shaka Smart, 35, agreed to a contract extension through 2023 to remain as coach of the Rams, whom he took to the 2011 Final Four and the last three NCAA tournaments. He turned down UCLA to do so.

Smart “has demonstrated through this process that he is loyal to VCU and his greatest concern lies with our program moving forward every year," athletic director Ed McLaughlin said.

"Our goal was to present him with a revised agreement proactively rather than wait for another institution to step in with an offer.”

He will make about $1.5 million per year, a person with direct knowledge of negotiations told USA Today. Talks focused less on money and more on program enhancements — such as chartered flights, training table, video-system upgrades and weight-room upgrades, the person told USA Today. Smart also wanted more compensation for his staff, the person added.

CBI:

Jonathan Arledge scored 23 points and Bryon Allen had seven assists as George Mason advanced to the best-of-three College Basketball Invitational championship series with a 62-52 home victory over Western Michigan.

The Patriots, who hit 24 of 28 free throws, will face Santa Clara beginning Monday. Kevin Foster scored 33 points as the Broncos beat Wright State 81-69 in Dayton, Ohio.

WNIT:

Kirby Burkholder scored 26 points to lead James Madison to a 77-61 win over Fordham in Harrisonburg in the round of 16 of the Women's National Invitation Tournament.

The Dukes (25-10) advance to the WNIT quarterfinals and will host Florida at 4 p.m. Saturday. Florida beat Charlotte 67-65 Wednesday night.

Burkholder, who also grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds for her 11th season double-double, was 9-for-14 from the field. She hit 6-of-10 from 3-point range.

Three other Dukes scored in double figures, including sophomore forward Toia Giggetts, a Lake Taylor High graduate who tallied 14 points and had career highs of three blocks, four steals and four assists.

NCAA Division II women:

Sisters Seja Gamble and Cache' Gamble, both of whom are Woodside High graduates, are on the Dowling (N.Y.) team that has made the NCAA Division II women's final in San Antonio, Texas.

Seja scored two points (in 21 minutes) and Cache' had 1 point for Dowling during its 76-54 victory over Augustana (S.D.).

Dowling will play Ashland (Ohio) for the championship at 8 p.m. Friday on CBS Sports Network. Ashland beat Western Washington 66-54.

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