Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Senior guard De’Riante Jenkins hit the game-tying 3-pointer with less than five seconds left, but Tennessee’s Lamonte Turner answered on the other end to propel the No. 17 Volunteers over the Rams 72-69 at the Emerald Coast Classic on Saturday afternoon.
The Rams trailed by as much as 13 in the contest before they slowly cut into the Tennessee lead in the waning minutes of the contest. The black and gold led with four minutes left, and that was the last time they were in front of the Volunteers.
Junior forward Marcus Santos-Silva led the Rams with 22 points and 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.
The Rams shot 39% on the afternoon, including 47% from beyond the arc. Tennessee logged a 48% clip from the field and 33% from three.
VCU turned over the ball a season-low five times in the contest, only a day after the Rams turned it over 21 times against Purdue.
The Rams and Volunteers traded baskets in the early going, but Tennessee held a 1 point lead in the contest.
After struggling from three in Friday night’s loss to Purdue, the Rams started the afternoon shooting 4-for-7 from beyond the arc. Jenkins hit an open 3-pointer from the top of the key for the first trey in the contest.
Jenkins finished with 15 points and three rebounds for the Rams.
Tennessee stretched its lead to nine after the Rams went without a field goal for more than eight minutes late in the first half. During the drought, the Rams were 0-for-11 shooting from the field.
VCU shot 24% from the field in the first half, including 36% from beyond the arc. The Volunteers shot a 50% clip from the field, but only 17% from three in the period.
The Rams took care of the ball in the first half as they committed three turnovers. The black and gold turned the Volunteers over seven times in the first 20 minutes.
In the second half, the Rams jumped out on a 6-0 run to cut the Volunteers’ lead to seven.
Throughout the half the Volunteers’ lead slowly dwindled, and the Rams took a 1 point lead late in the game.
The Rams turned Tennessee over 13 times on the afternoon, scoring 12 points off the Volunteers’ errors.
The Rams host ODU on Saturday night at the Siegel Center at 8 p.m.