Defense Sparks Rams Past New Mexico, 67-55

RICHMOND, Va. – Senior Eric Maynor (Raeford, N.C.) led all scorers with 18 points and Virginia Commonwealth University locked down on defense in the second half to key a 67-55 victory over New Mexico Saturday at the Cancun Challenge in Cancun, Mexico.

The win halts a two-game losing streak for the Rams and improves them to 3-2. VCU advances to take on Vanderbilt on Sunday, Nov. 30 at 10:30 p.m. EST. The Commodores (4-1) defeated Drake, 72-57, Saturday.

The Lobos (3-3) took a 32-31 lead into the locker room at halftime, but the Rams assumed control in the second. VCU limited New Mexico to 37-percent (10-of-27) shooting from the floor in the second half and out rebounded the Lobos 17-14.

The Rams also held UNM leading scorer Tony Dandridge to two points and just five field goal attempts. Dandridge came into the game averaging 14 points per game, but fouled out with 3:54 left.

Sophomore Joey Rodriguez (Oviedo, Fla.) knocked down 4-of-5 3-pointers and finished with 12 points. He also had three of VCU’s seven steals in the game.

Sophomore Lance Kearse (Fort Myers, Fla.) added 11 points and five rebounds off the bench for the Rams. Fellow sophomore Larry Sanders (Fort Pierce, Fla.), limited to just four minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, provided eight points and six rebounds.

Phillip McDonald paced the Lobos with 14 points.

New Mexico led by as many as six points in the second half before the Rams went to work.

Trailing 43-37, VCU received two buckets each from Kearse, Maynor and Sanders to spark a 13-0 run that gave the Rams a 50-43 advantage with 7:49 remaining. They would not trail again and would push their lead to as many as 14 points.

Matt has been reporting on VCU sports for Ram Nation since 2007 with a focus on news, photos, and feature stories.