VCU overcame a slow start to defeat Winthrop University 92-71 Saturday night to improve to 3-0 on the young season.
With a lead of 45-41 at the half, VCU scored 47 second half points, with six Rams scoring double figures. Briante Weber scored a career high 16 points to lead the team and Treveon Graham recorded a double-double grabbing 10 rebounds and s13 points.
VCU held a 38-28 advantage in the paint and shot from the free throw line 48 times, converting on 34. New NCAA regulations summoned the ref ‘s whistle on several occasions, slowing the game down at times, but “HAVOC” prevailed forcing 25 turnovers to Winthrop’s 19. VCU turned 25 turnovers into 30 points over the course of the game.
The Rams shot 43 percent from the field (26-60) and 35 percent from the three-point line (6-17). The Rams outrebounded the Eagles 43-27.
Three-point shooting was the story of the game early on as WU junior guard Andre Smith went 4-4 from behind the arc to start. Smith would score 14 first half points and poised as Winthrop only true threat in the first half. VCU tried to pull away but the Eagles were persistent in keeping the game close.
In the second half, Smart’s team shut down Smith defensively, allowing the WU guard to add one point to finish with a total of 15.
Mo Alie-Cox hit a surprising three pointer off a JeQuan Lewis assist to put the Rams up nine with 13:53 to go in the second half. 45 seconds later a layup by Rob Brandenberg off a fast break play put the Rams up double digits 63-52, the first all game.
The game became out of reach with a three-point dagger by Melvin Johnson off a Lewis assist to put the Rams up 15 points to a score of 80-65 with 05:03 to go in the game. Coach Smart’s team never looked back and secured a 21-point victory.
The Siegel Center recorded its 37th consecutive sellout, a new school record.
Coach Smart didn’t put much stock in WU becoming a “trap-game” after a last second victory over University of Virginia, but Coach Smart felt differently
“Couple coaches that I’ve worked for would of called this a trap game, I don’t really use that, but it was an emotional win the UVA game, we put a lot in to that.” said Coach Smart. “(With) the Puerto Rico event on the horizon, that our guys re excited about, here this game was, and we needed to take care if business, I thought in the second half we did a good job of that.”
Next, VCU travel to San Juan Puerto Rico to take part in the Puerto Rico Tip-off Nov. 21.