Treveon Graham scored 22 points, including a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds to play, and No. 14 VCU beat No. 25 Virginia 59-56 on Tuesday night in front a sellout crowd at John Paul Jones Arena.
The Rams (2-0) trailed for almost all of the final 10 minutes until Graham's steal and baseline jumper gave them a 56-55 lead with 1:18 left.
Malcolm Brogdon then hit just the second of two free throws with 9.7 seconds left for the Cavaliers (1-1), tying the game before the Rams called time out and set up the final play.
Rob Brandenburg brought the ball up, went around a screen and fired a pass back to Graham, who shot from the left side of the arc and swished it through for just the sixth 3-pointer of the game.
Joe Harris led Virginia with 18 points, but he missed two free throws with 3:58 to play and Virginia trying to extend a 53-49 lead. The Cavaliers scored just three points in the last 4:57.
With Harris leading the way, the Cavaliers used an 11-2 run to take command, and threatened to put the game away. But Graham scored twice from in close, and followed a jumper by Brogdon with a free throw.
The Rams still trailed 55-49 until Juvonte Reddic's putback stuff with 2:44 to play sparked a 7-0 run. Jordan Burgess made a 3-pointer from the right corner, and Graham then stole a wraparound pass from Justin Anderson and drove for a baseline 6-footer with 1:18 remaining, giving the Rams the 56-55 lead.
The Rams won despite missing 9 of 15 free throws and shooting 41 percent (24 of 58) from the field.
Virginia shot just 57.6 percent at the line (19 of 33) and 39 percent from the field (18 of 46).
The meeting was the first between the schools since 1998, and was highly anticipated. It drew the first sellout to the 14,593-seat arena for a non-conference game since 2007, and it was loud.
The entire first half was played at Virginia's pace, and the Rams led most of the way by driving to the basket and either drawing fouls or making shots from close in. Virginia made only three field goals in the first 13 minutes, but used a late 10-0 run to lead 26-24 at halftime.
The Rams had 15 fouls at the half, and had seven players with two each.
Virginia had 12 fouls, and four players with two apiece.