Philadelphia – After being down as much as 13 points in the second half, the VCU Rams (10-5, 2-0) were able to fight back and leave the City of Brotherly Love with an 85-82 win against the Saint Joseph’s Hawks (11-3, 1-1). Melvin Johnson scored 25 points for the Rams and moved into third place on the VCU made three-pointers list.
The Hawks jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first half. Despite the cold start from the Rams, starting out 2-13 from distance, they were able to chip their way back into the game. VCU’s defense stepped up as they were able to force the Hawks to commit eight turnovers. After starting the game making four of their first six shots, the Hawks shot 8-27 from the field. After JeQuan Lewis and Mo Alie-Cox scored on consecutive plays giving VCU their first lead of the game, 27-26, with 5:37 to go. VCU went into halftime with a 38-35 lead. JeQuan Lewis finished the half with 12 points, four rebounds, and three assists.
The second half started out much like the first as the Hawks went on a 13-0 run to take a 46-38 lead after the Rams committed two early turnovers. The Rams started to chip away at the lead before the Hawks went on a 13-6 run to go up by as much as 13 with 7:11 to go spearheaded by Isaiah Miles who finished the game with 31 points, 21 of which was in the second half. From there, the Rams on a 21-7 run with Alie-Cox scoring the latter eight to take the lead back from the Hawks 78-77 with 1:34 to go. The Rams would now trail for the duration of the game. With six seconds to go, Johnson split two free throws which gave DeAndre’ Bembry had a chance to send the game into overtime, but missed a three at the buzzer.
“I think we are certainly growing,” VCU Coach Will Wade said postgame. “We needed this win against a top three or four team in the Atlantic 10 on the road. We got away from our formula a bit to start the game and to start the second half, but we battled back.”
“In the timeouts, we had faith that we were going to come back,” Alie-Cox said. “We’ve been in positions like this last year plenty of times and this year a couple of times. Everyone was just real excited that we came in here and got a road win because we know that is real hard to do in conference.”
The win for the Rams was their fifth in a row. They will travel to Saint Louis to face the Billikens on Sunday at 4:00.