VCU Men’s Basketball earned its eighth straight win last weekend in a narrow, three-point victory against Hofstra. The Rams are now 17-7 (12-4 in the CAA). Contributing significantly to the team’s victory was senior forward Willie Taylor.
Taylor went 9-18 from the floor, including four three-pointers after shooting 50 percent from three-point range. Taylor also had five rebounds against Hofstra.
The high-scoring senior’s 24-point game, in combination with his 33-point game earlier in the week was enough to earn him the honor of CAA player of the week.
Taylor averaged 28.5 points and 6 rebounds per game last week, and also tied a career record of seven three-pointers in the earlier win against William & Mary. Taylor shot 54 percent from the floor and 48 percent from three-point range last week in his 66 minutes of play.
Taylor also had a one-hander with less than a minute left in the game against Hofstra, which sealed the lead for VCU at 77-75. In the final seconds of the game, Lars Grubler of Hofstra missed a pair of free throws. VCU’s forward Nick George was fouled and landed a pair of free throws to give VCU a four-point lead. Woody Souffrant made a lay-up for Hofstra to bring the Pride back into the game, but the Ram’s guard Emanuel Mathis was fouled and he made one of two free throws to seal the three-point win.
In addition to Taylor’s 24-point game, George and guard Domonic Jones also scored in the double digits. George had 12 points including four free throws after shooting 100 percent from the line, and seven rebounds for the game. Jones had 16 points for the evening, after going 8-13. Center Troy Godwin led the Rams in rebounds with 11.
The Pride had four players scoring in double-digits during the game. Forward Kenny Adeleke earned a double-double for Hofstra with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Rick Apodaca led the price with 29 points after going 9-21 and shooting 10-12 from the free-throw line. Apodaca also had five rebounds during the evening. Souffrant was the second highest Pride scorer with 12 points. Grubler also tallied 10 for Hofstra.
The game was neck and neck from the start. Neither team was able to fully pull away from the other. The largest Hofstra lead of six points (27-21) occurred with 8:32 left in the first half but only two minutes later the Rams tied it up at 29 a piece with a jump shot from George.
In the second half, VCU was up 50-43 with 16:55 remaining in the game but Hofstra had a 7-0 run to tie the game back up at 50 even. VCU had its own 11-3 run in response to bring the score to 61-53, but the Pride fought back to a 66-all game with less than seven minutes remaining.
In the remaining minutes, neither team would lead by more than two points until George’s free throw with 30 seconds on the clock.
VCU shot 44.8 percent for the game and 35.3 percent from three-point range. The team had a collective 66.7 percent free-throw percentage.
Despite the VCU victory, Hofstra had the higher total field-goal percentage with 46.2 percent for the game. The Pride shot 63.6 percent from the line.
Men’s Basketball’s final regular season game is Saturday against UNC-Wilmington in North Carolina. The game is scheduled for 4 p.m. After that, the next stop for the Rams is the CAA tournament at the Richmond Coliseum. The tournament runs March 7-10.