Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
The Barclays Center was not friendly to VCU or last-minute 3-pointers this season as Rhode Island knocked VCU out of the A-10 tournament for the third straight year, 75-70, after splitting the season series.
Friday afternoon in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinal, junior guard De’Riante Jenkins had a look at a 3-pointer from the right wing and was bumped by a Rhode Island defender, but no foul was called.
Similarly, in the Legends Classic tournament on Nov. 20, the Black and Gold fell to St. John’s in Brooklyn — after redshirt-junior Marcus Evans shot a three from the top of the arc and was bumped into without a foul call.
Sophomore forward Marcus Santos-Silva logged a career-high in points and rebounds with 26 and 22, respectively.
“He was pretty awesome today. He just played so darn hard,” coach Mike Rhoades said. “I was impressed by when he went after the rebounds today, he just kept fighting. He just gave us great energy and when you’re playing harder than the people you’re playing against, it usually puts you in a good position to get results and he did that today.”
Rhode Island used a 9-0 run late in the second half to take an 8-point lead on VCU. But the Black and Gold had an answer as they went on a 5-0 run that pulled VCU within three, but it wasn’t enough.
“Just didn’t get enough consecutive stops and we didn’t get enough hands on balls today and deflections,” Rhoades said.
Santos-Silva was all over the glass for VCU in the first half logging 12 rebounds — five offensively. He had five in the first four minutes of the contest.
Evans was fouled attempting a layup in the first half, and when he hit the ground, he immediately grabbed his left leg. He was taken back to the locker room after getting up off the floor.
Rhode Island went on a 6-0 run after the injury to pull within two of VCU, but Jenkins nailed back-to-back 3-pointers from the right corner to end the run.
The Rams, clad in blue, went on to outscore VCU 57-44 after Evans left the game.
VCU held Rhode Island to shooting 22.7 percent from beyond the arc in the first half, while the Black and Gold shot 42.9 percent from three.
Santos-Silva erupted out of the halftime break, scoring the Rams’ first 7 points in the second half.
Rhode Island extended its lead to five after Jeff Dowtin hit an off-balance 3-pointer with one second on the shot clock and less than a minute remaining in the contest.
VCU forced 13 turnovers but only scored 9 points off the Rhode Island errors.
“I thought our guys down the stretch got enough stops,” Rhoades said. “We just didn’t convert enough.”
The Black and Gold await the decision on a potential NCAA tournament bid on Selection Sunday, March 17.
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