Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Over the last six games before Tuesday night, redshirt-senior forward Issac Vann was 2-for-13 from beyond the arc. On the road at Saint Joseph’s, he knocked down two threes for the second game in a row.
Vann wore a grin on the bench during a timeout after knocking down the second 3-pointer. That basket pushed the Bridgeport, Connecticut, native over 1,000 career points, a milestone he was nearing over the last four games.
The Rams knocked off the Hawks 73-60 Tuesday night in Philadelphia, the second-straight win for the black and gold.
VCU logged 14 steals in the contest and had 10 players record at least one steal.
Saint Joseph’s relies heavily on 3-pointers, and the Rams limited them to shooting 33.3% from deep.
“The way they play is different than everybody in the league — they got to beat you by making threes,” coach Mike Rhoades told Ram Radio’s Mike Litos. “They didn’t get into a consistent rhythm offensively, which was huge.”
The Rams used a 9-0 run early in the first half, sparked by a freshman guard Bones Hyland 3-pointer from the top of the key to take a 7-point lead.
In the early going, Havoc took control of the Hawks as it forced five steals in the first 10 minutes of the contest. The Rams turned Saint Joseph’s over 11 times in the first half, scoring 14 points off the turnovers.
The Rams forced 18 total turnovers, scoring 19 points off the Hawk errors.
“For them, it’s a low possession game,” Rhoades said. “It’s like other teams having 36 [turnovers]. That was huge.”
Senior guard Malik Crowfield, who missed eight games with a broken bone in his wrist, scored on back-to-back layups late in the first half. The LaPlace, Louisiana, native also hit a 3-pointer midway through the half to mark his first points since Dec. 7 against ODU.
The Rams limited their mistakes in the first 20 minutes, only recording one turnover — a Saint Joseph’s steal. VCU also held the Hawks to shooting 1-for-12 to close out the first half.
In the second half, sophomore guard KeShawn Curry logged 7 of his team-high 13 points.
“I think his approach this week in practice the last seven, eight days has been really good,” Rhoades said. “It’s amazing when your mind’s clear, you’re doing the right thing, how well you play, and he did that.”
Midway through the final 20 minutes, redshirt-senior guard Marcus Evans took a hard fall and was down holding his head. He went to the locker room after getting up and did not return.
“He passed the concussion exam,” Rhoades said. “He passed it, so he’s not even in it. He said he’ll be fine and ready to go Saturday.”
The Chesapeake native returned to the lineup Tuesday night after missing the St. Bonaventure game on Jan. 18 with a concussion and the flu.
Crowfield picked up where he left off in the second half, nailing a 3-pointer from the corner to push the Rams’ lead to 18 — the largest of the night — and cap a 7-0 run. He finished the night with 10 points, shooting 4-for-5 from the field.
“He makes open shots and he makes the right play,” Rhoades said of Crowfield. “I think he sometimes soothes the offense. He does a good job of picking his spots and moving the ball.”
The Rams return to Philadelphia on Jan. 25 to play La Salle at noon in their second straight road game.
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