Dunks and defense lead VCU men’s basketball over George Washington to snap skid

Sophomore guard KeShawn Curry logged 13 points against George Washington. Photo by Megan Lee

Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor

Sophomore guard KeShawn Curry caught a pass from freshman guard Tre Clark with one hand and dunked it over the Colonials’ Jameer Nelson Jr. in the first half against George Washington on Saturday.

“I lost my mind on the bench, I ain’t going to even lie,” freshman guard Bones Hyland said of the dunk. “It was crazy.”

Senior guard Mike’l Simms knew Curry had it in him.

“To be honest with you, I’m not even surprised,” Simms said. “[He’s] good, athletic, young legs, I’m not even surprised.”

That dunk was just a preview of the Rams’ offense Saturday afternoon as the black and gold knocked off George Washington 75-51 at the Siegel Center.

When it wasn’t Curry flying through the air, many Rams were looking for freshman forward Hason Ward to finish an alley-oop.

Ward logged four dunks on the afternoon, finishing with a career-high 10 points.

The win snapped the Rams’ five-game losing streak and put them back in the win column for the first time since Feb. 7 against Davidson.

“Never count out a young person that has a purpose,” coach Mike Rhoades said. “I think you saw that today.”

The Rams went on a 10-0 run early in the first half that spanned just over two minutes. During the run, the Rams knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers from freshman guard Bones Hyland and senior guard Mike’l Simms.

The black and gold’s defense held the Colonials to shooting 0-for-5 during the run.

After the run, both teams fell into a lull, unable to score from the field.

George Washington went on a 7-0 run, cutting the Rams’ lead to three. A Simms 3-pointer ended the Colonials run. Other teams’ ability to build runs hurt the black and gold during their losing streak, but they were able to stop George Washington.

“We just focus on connecting more,” Curry said of the Rams’ mindset when George Washington went on a run. “When they get on a run, let’s get tighter together and also let’s not go our separate ways, let’s huddle up tighter. Let’s figure out a way to stop this run.”

In the second half, the Rams built their lead using an 11-0 run over four minutes. During the run, Havoc forced four George Washington turnovers.

The Rams closed the game out holding George Washington without field goals for multiple stretches.

VCU shot 56% from the field on the afternoon, including 50% from deep. The team held George Washington to shooting 39% from the field and 27.8% from three.

The black and gold scored 22 points on 16 Colonial turnovers.

“The reason it feels really good … is because we finally converted some of our steals,” Rhoades said. “We need that the rest of the way.”

The Rams host Duquesne on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Siegel Center on senior day.

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