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.