Rams win 12th straight, down Hawks

Redshirt-junior guard Marcus Evans scored a game-high 23 points in the win over Saint Joseph's. Photo by Jon Mirador.

Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor

Men’s Basketball extended its winning streak to 12 games, knocking off Saint Joseph’s 75-63 Friday at the Siegel Center on senior night.

“I think it’s just that hunting mentality,” redshirt-junior guard Marcus Evans said. “We take it one game at a time. I don’t think we are focused on the 12-game winning streak. Every game, guys are locked into that one game and they are doing what their supposed to each possession and that’s been key for us keeping the streak going.”

The win ties the record for the most conference wins in a season — the previous being in the 2006-07 season when the Rams were a part of the Colonial Athletic Association.

The Rams shot 41.4 percent from the field on the night, including 33 percent from three.

VCU moved the ball around during each possession, logging 21 assists total. Evans and junior guard De’Riante Jenkins had four assists apiece.

“I thought we really shared the ball,” coach Mike Rhoades said. “We had 21 assists on 27 baskets. That’s winning basketball, and that’s what we talk about. So [I’m] really proud.”

Evans kicked off the scoring with a 3-pointer after losing the ball on the Rams’ opening possession.

The Black and Gold used an 8-0 run that spanned just under three minutes midway through the first half — highlighted by a freshman forward Vince Williams 3-point play. During the run, HAVOC made multiple stops in a row.

“Defense. That’s what we hang our hat on,” redshirt-junior forward Issac Vann said. “Those stops were big; we want to string together as many stops as possible in a row. That helped us.”

Vann finished with 15 points and four rebounds.

Soon after, Williams nailed a 3-pointer that extended the Black and Gold lead to 10 points.

VCU’s lead swelled to 13 as Jenkins and Vann hit back-to-back 3-pointers toward the end of the first half.

The Rams shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, including 39 percent from beyond the arc. HAVOC limited the Hawks to shooting 43 percent from the field and 38 percent from deep.

Evans accounted for the first 10 points in the second half for the Rams, including a 3-pointer. The Chesapeake native finished with a game-high 23 points, four rebounds and four assists.  

The Hawks went on a 7-0 run midway through the second half, holding the Rams scoreless for just under three minutes during the run. Charlie Brown accounted for 4 of the 7 points.

Saint Joseph’s run pulled the Hawks within 7 of the Rams, but Jenkins ended it with a layup at the other end.

The Rams No. 3 defense from beyond the arc held the Hawks to shooting 25 percent from three.  

“When we go up to Brooklyn, it’s about the same mindset, the same thing we’ve been doing,” Evans said. “Obviously it’s been working so far. So, I think as long as we stay true to what we’ve been doing, we put ourselves in a great position.”

The Rams will play in the A-10 quarterfinals at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, at noon on March 15.

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