Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Men’s Basketball knocked off Richmond 69-66, with the game coming down to a last-second Spiders 3-pointer that missed Saturday evening at the Robins Center. The victory extends the Rams’ win streak to a season-high 10 games.
“This time of year, you’re in March. You’ve got to find a way to win,” coach Mike Rhoades said. “Sometimes it’s pretty, sometimes it’s a grind — the last two [games] were grinds. I’m really proud of our guys. We didn’t win these games last year.”
Richmond used a 7-0 run in the final minute of the game to get within a single point of the Rams. Jake Wojcik took a three from the left wing but was off balance, and the shot did not fall.
“On the last possession, we do what we do on 3-point [defense] and we ran them off the three – they had one but it was a tough one,” Rhoades said. “So I thought down the stretch the guys executed late-game situations. I thought they did a good job with that.”
The Rams forced 19 Richmond turnovers and scored 20 points off errors.
Junior guard Malik Crowfield had the hot hand for the Rams as he hit four 3-pointers to finish with a season-high 14 points.
“Today was his day,” Rhoades said. “He really stepped up and we don’t win today without Malik Crowfield.”
Crowfield logged 20 minutes off the bench — leading Rhoades’ “army.”
“On the bench, I just come play my role. I bring energy as soon as I come in the game,” Crowfield said. “I just do my job, hit three’s and play defense.”
Redshirt-junior guard Marcus Evans lead the Rams with 15 points.
The Rams held the Spiders without a basket for the first three minutes of the game, forcing three turnovers in the first four minutes. But the Rams started shooting 1-for-4 to start the game.
VCU went on an 8-0 run in under two minutes late in the first half. Evans accounted for 5 of the 8 points. He nailed two free throws and a 3-pointer during the run.
The Black and Gold run pushed VCU’s lead to 10 on the Spiders.
Richmond went on an 8-0 run of their own to pull within one. Noah Yates nailed back-to-back 3-pointers for the Spiders, forcing Rhoades to call a timeout.
The Rams answered the run with another one of their own — they went on a 9-0 run to close out the half. The run was highlighted by three dunks and a technical foul on the Spiders’ bench. The scoring drought for Richmond allowed the Rams to take a 10 point lead into the locker room.
VCU forced 13 Spider turnovers in the first half, scoring 16 points off the errors. The Rams shot 52 percent from the field, including 13 percent from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Spiders slowly cut into the Rams lead in the second half and took a 2-point lead midway through the second half. They eventually would grind the score down again late in the second half to make it a one possession game.
Freshman forward Vince Williams added 6 points, five assists, five rebounds and three steals.
“Here’s the thing about [Williams,]” Rhoades said. “He’s so versatile. He’s a basketball player. The best compliment a coach can give you is when he calls you a really good basketball player.”
In total, Richmond shot 10-for-20 from beyond the arc.
“The one thing we needed to do was run them off the 3-point line and we sure didn’t do that,” Rhoades said. “They did a really good job at making plays and getting guys shots. And that was a really big part of the game.”