Havoc bails out VCU men’s basketball in sloppy first half

Redshirt-senior guard Marcus Evans logged a team-high 13 points against North Texas. Photo by Jon Mirador

Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor

After North Texas used an 8-0 run to break an 11-11 tie, the Rams stormed back with help from their Havoc defense Friday night at the Siegel Center. 

While the Mean Green were on the run, the Rams were 0-for-4 from the field and didn’t score for more than three minutes. 

Then the offense woke up midway through the half. 

“Everybody knew what time it was,” senior guard De’Riante Jenkins said. “It was time to win.”

The Rams went on a 20-0 run that spanned more than eight minutes, while the Mean Green turned over the ball 13 times in the first half. 

“We just locked in I think,” redshirt-senior guard Marcus Evans said. “I think at times we get a little lackadaisical on defense. That’s what we hang our hat on, and tonight we had some defensive mistakes — that’s uncharacteristic of us.”

During the VCU run, threes were raining down for the Rams. Senior guard Malik Crowfield sparked the run, nailing a 3-pointer to cut the North Texas lead to five. 

Jenkins tied the game on a 3-pointer midway through the first half. After the three, the Rams defense forced a Mean Green shot clock violation and gave the ball back to the black and gold. 

“It was a huge momentum builder,” coach Mike Rhoades said of the run. “I thought we got a great lift with the bench as well. Flying around a little bit, we got the style of play going in our favor and we made some shots.”

Immediately after the defensive stop, Evans and Jenkins hit back-to-back 3-pointers, pushing the lead to six and forcing North Texas to call a timeout. 

In the first half, the Rams scored 16 points on the 13 errors by the Mean Green. The black and gold also logged eight steals and three blocks in the first 20 minutes of play. 

“You turn the ball over to these guys, and they start going up and down [the court], it’s over,” North Texas coach Grant McCasland said. 

The Rams defense forced two shot clock violations in the first half, as well as one 10-second violation in the backcourt on the Mean Green. 

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