Richmond, Va. – VCU was able to exact revenge on the Old Dominion Monarchs as won 76-67 at the Siegel Center. Three players scored in double figures as Jequan Lewis led the way with 16 points of the bench. Melvin Johnson finished with 13 points and Jordan Burgess followed up with twelve points. The Rams knocked down 10 three-pointers in the game.
ODU came right out the gates knocking down four three pointers within the first four minutes of the game and lead after the first media timeout 16-8 while VCU committed three turnovers in that span. VCU took the lead 18-16 with 9:25 with a three-pointer from Doug Brooks while the Rams defense shut down the offense of the Monarchs as they were not able to score for over six minutes. The Monarchs answered with a field goal to tie the game at 18. From there, both teams played a back and forth game as both teams took their turns leading the game and even tied at a few points in the first half. Jordan Baker hit a pair of free throws with five seconds left in the first half to tie the game at halftime at 35. Brooks had nine points in the game, all of them came in the first half as he hit a trifecta of threes.
The Rams were able to capitalize on Mo Alie-Cox being double-teamed in the second half which led to six three pointers being hit.
“In the first half, they either double-teamed me or sunk in,” Alie-Cox said. “In the second half, when I caught the ball with one-on-one coverage, I went straight up. If they double-teamed, we got a lot of wide open threes.”
Melvin Johnson knocked down back-to-back three pointers in 41 seconds to give VCU a nine-point lead, 49-40. Soon thereafter, VCU was able to obtain a double-digit lead in the second half with their biggest lead being 11 (54-43). ODU trimmed VCU’s lead down to three before with five minutes left. The Rams followed up with a 12-2 run which included a pair of threes from Korey Billbury and Lewis. The Monarchs kept fighting, but they did not have much left in the tank as the Rams were able to claim victory in the annual affair.
When asked about the defensive performance in the second half, Lewis said “We buckled down in the halfcourt. Getting stops gave us momentum and if they [ODU] can’t score, we’re going to win.”
VCU head coach, Will Wade, called today’s performance was probably the best they have played at home this season.
“After the first four minutes where ODU blitzed us, they only shot 38% which was good for us,” Wade said.
The Rams improve to 4-2 this season as they get will travel to Murfreesboro, Tennessee to face the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on Wednesday night in their first true road game this season.
Richmond, Va. – VCU defeated the American Eagles 68-39 in a Thanksgiving Eve matchup. Seniors, Melvin Johnson and Korey Billbury led the way with 13 points and 12 points respectively. Off the bench, Justin Tillman obtained his second career double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
VCU point guard, Jequan Lewis did not get the start, but played significant minutes off the bench. VCU forced American to commit 14 turnovers in the first half as it took the Eagles three minutes and 21 seconds to score their first basket. Within that span, the Eagles committed five turnovers. Offensively, the Rams were not at their best as they utilized a different starting five (Johnson, Billbury, Burgess, Gilmore, Alie-Cox), but they were able sustain enough offense to distance themselves from the Eagles with a double digit lead. The Rams went into halftime with a 16-point lead, 36-20.
VCU was able to open the game up in the second half they opened up a plus-20 point lead on the Eagles. Overall, the Rams forced the Eagles into committing 22 turnovers as the Rams were able to keep the Eagles at bay for the remainder of the game. Mo Alie-Cox had two blocks in the game which moved him into sixth place on the VCU blocks list with 125 passing 2014 graduate, Juvonte Reddic. American’s 44 points was the fewest VCU allowed since holding Akron to 42 points in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
“Coach said that we were just ok tonight,” Billbury said. “Our energy was ok, our effort was ok, but we have to be a lot better for Saturday’s game.”
“We have a lot of different ways that we can start,” Coach Wade said. “We’ll evaluate our lineups, we’ll change our starting lineups based on and we will go from there.”
The Rams are now 3-2 on the young season. VCU returns to action this Saturday to face in-state rival, the Old Dominion Monarchs. Last year, the Rams were defeated by the Monarchs in Norfolk 73-67. The game will take place at the Siegel Center at 4:00.
Richmond, Va. – The VCU Rams gave RamNation one final audition before their regular season debut next week as they cruised to a 96-60 victory over the California (PA) Vulcans. Every VCU player that entered the game with the exception of one scored. Five players had double digit scoring totals with senior Melvin Johnson leading the way scoring 21 points, 17 of those coming in the second half. Senior, Korey Billbury, finished with a double-double as he scored 10 points and racked up 11 rebounds.
The exhibition was relatively close in the first half as the Rams came out as they put it, jittery. They turned the ball over eight times, five of which was within the first 10 minutes of the game. VCU lead the entire first half, however they were unable to gain a double-digit lead until 1:13 was left in the first half thanks to a pair of made free throws made by Jordan Burgess.
“He got after us at half,” Johnson said. “We just had to slow down and stop thinking so much. We were just out there doing our own thing and he got after us. We settled down and pretty much did what he [Coach Wade] told us to do.”
After halftime, the Rams were able to lock in in the second half as they were able to hold the Vulcans to shooting 21% (7-33) from the field. Johnson hit four three pointers during the half. VCU outscored California (PA) 52-29 in the half.
Coach Wade was not thoroughly impressed with his team in the game saying that they still have a lot of work to do.
“I was really disappointed in our free throw shooting.” Wade said. “We didn’t stick to our routine that we practiced. Defensively, we have plenty of work to do. Offensively, we weren’t perfect. We turned the ball over too much and we were jittery early. We’re a work in progress, we’ve got plenty of work to do, and we’ll get back to work Sunday.”
VCU makes their regular season debut against the Prairie View A&M Panthers next Friday at the Siegel Center at 7 in the first round of the 2K Classic.
Richmond, Va., – Saturday marked the official start of VCU Basketball season as the VCU Men’s Basketball team held their annual Black and Gold scrimmage. The open scrimmage offered a small taste of what the VCU Rams will be like this upcoming season.
The RamNation were out in full force as they were in midseason form as you could feel the electricity throughout the Siegel Center. RamNation was also treated to a video package highlighting their Atlantic 10 tournament Championship from March followed by a ring ceremony presenting players on last year’s team with A-10 Championship rings.
The Black team that consisted of Korey Billbury, Jequan Lewis, Jordan Burgess, Mo Alie-Cox, Melvin Johnson, Jordan Riullano, and Justin Tillman defeated the Gold Team (Johnny Williams, Samir Doughty, Doug Brooks, Michael Gilmore, Ahmed Hamdy Mohamed, Gerron Scissum, Torey Burston, Jonathan Nwankwo) 85-76. However, this game gave players an opportunity to show their skills in front of a crowd of more than 5,000 people.
Melvin Johnson led all scorers with 24 points and Justin Tillman added 20 points and 10 rebounds. Korey Billbury really impressed fans as he scored 14 points, 12 in the first half. The Black team led the majority of the game as they led by as much as 20 points before the Gold team made a rally late in the second half. Doug Brooks led the Gold Team with 16 points.
Coach Wade praised Tillman after the game as he really made an impression on Coach Wade.
“His activity level was through the roof,” Wade said. “He was tremendous and he’s been that way in practice. He’s our best activity guy and that showed in the game. He dunks everything and I love that. I worry about the backboards in the development center sometimes because he dunks everything.”
The Rams will enjoy a couple of more weeks off before hosting California (PA) on November 6 in VCU’s sole exhibition game.