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KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) Tamin Lipsey and Keshon Gilbert combined to score 30 of their 44 points in the second half as Iowa State rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat VCU 68-64 Thursday night in an opening-round game at the ESPN Events Invitational.

Max Shulga hit two free throws to give the Rams a three-point lead with 1:56 remaining before Lipsey made a layup but missed the and-one free throw. Tre King grabbed the offensive rebound and Lipsey hit a jumper to put Iowa State in front 65-64 just 21 seconds later. After an offensive foul on VCU's Christian Fermin with 1:22 to play, the Rams missed their final three field-goal attempts.

Shulga hit 4 of 7 from 3-point range and led VCU (3-2) with 17 points and eight assists. Michael Belle scored 14 points, Fermin fouled out with 12 on 5-of-5 shooting from the field and Zeb Jackson scored 10.

Iowa State (5-0) trailed by 15 points late in the first half.

Jackson made a 3, followed with a layup 34 seconds later and hit a jumper with 6:02 remaining to give VCU a 59-49 lead. Gilbert answered with a three-point play and added two free throws with 5 minutes left to make it two-possession game. After Shulga hit a 3-pointer to push the lead back to eight points, Gilbert made a layup, King stole a pass from Jackson and a driving layup by Lipsey made it 62-58 with 3:56 to go.

Lipsey scored 14 of his 22 points in the second half and finished with seven rebounds and three steals. Gilbert also scored 22 to go with 10 rebounds. Robert Jones added 12 points.

The Rams lost for the first time since they dropped their season opener 76-65 loss to McNeese.

Iowa State plays the winner between Boise State and Virginia Tech in the semifinals on Friday and VCU takes on the loser in a consolation game.

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