After going 2-1 in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament during the Thanksgiving break, with their only loss being to the eventual champions, the then 20th ranked Baylor Bears, VCU returned to the E.J. Wade Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center to take on the Princeton Bears and things didn’t get off to a great start for the Rams.
Princeton jumped out to a 16-0 lead before VCU started playing their brand of basketball. The Rams started to up the tempo of the game to claw their way back to a tie score at the half. A late 9-0 run in the second half propelled VCU put away Princeton for good by a score of 81-70.
JeQuan Lewis scored 25 points, with 19 of those coming in the first half, to go along with 12 assists, collecting his first double-double of the season. Lewis conintued his stellar play from last week where he was named Atlantic 10 Co-Player of the Week in which he averaged 18.3 points per game, while shooting .500 from the floor. Lewis also knocked down 11-of-23 from the 3-point line, while recording 16 assists and seven steals.
Mo Alie-Cox scored 15 points and had a team-high five blocks, Jordan Burgess chipped in with 12 points while shooting perfect from the floor, and Samir Doughty added 11 points.
VCU was also without one key component tonight. Jonathan Williams, the Rams’ starting point guard missed tonight’s game due to sickness.
Princeton was able to slow down VCU early with a 1-3-1 trap defense that made the Rams settle for a lot of 3-pointers, but VCU was able to settle down and take their first lead of the game 44-41 with 18:09 in second half.
VCU made critical free throws down the stretch, and Burgess added a dunk on a breakaway with 44 seconds remaining to put an exclamation point on the game for the Rams.
VCU will head to Miami next, where they will meet Illinois on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. at AmericanAirlines Arena.
(Photo Credit: Kallie Raymond)