The Rams came out and surprised the Duke University Blue Devils in the 2K Classic, managing to go into halftime with the lead before succumbing to the defending National Champions 79-71.
The Rams jumped out to a 4-0 lead to start the game with back-to-back baskets from junior forward Mo Alie-Cox. The Rams took a 6-2 lead in the first three minutes and then a little over midway through the half, the Rams were tied up with the Blue Devils at 15-15.
At no point in the first half did Duke manage to gain an advantage of more than two points and with only about 20 seconds left in the first half, the Rams took a 39-35 advantage after a jumper from senior guard Melvin Johnson. The Blue Devils responded, with a last-second 3-pointer from Grayson Allen, the Blue Devils went into the break trailing 39-38.
In the opening minutes of the second half, the Rams went on a 6-2 run to take a 45-40 lead, but the Blue Devils were able to stay in the game and with about 11 minutes left, the score was tied at 55-55. This was the only point in the game where the Rams hit a scoring drought and the Blue Devils took advantage of it by going on a 15-3 run, taking a 70-58 advantage with only five minutes remaining in the game.
The Blue Devils rode out the lead for the final minutes of the game and VCU fell 79-71, dropping to 2-1, while Duke improved its record to 3-1. Johnson led the Rams in points with 20 total for the Rams, while Alie-Cox scored 15. The third leading scorer on the Rams roster was junior forward Ahmed Hamdy-Mohamed with 10. Allen was the leading scorer for the Blue Devils with 30 total points.
With the loss, the Rams will face Wisconsin in the consolation game, while Duke will play Georgetown in the championship. VCU returns home to play against American University on Nov. 25 at the Stu.
Article by: Peter Mason, Contributing Writer
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