With their backs against the wall and ex Highland Springs stand out Jamar Abrams doing his best to put this one away (26 points), VCU found a way to escape an East Carolina Pirate upset in an 82-74 victory in front of a home crowd of 7,124.
Brandon Rozzell hit two critical threes, the later of which gave VCU the lead for good.
Rozzell and Abrams starred on the same Highland Springs teams that were all so familiar to the Siegel Center and it’s high school championships and tournaments.
“Both of us had great games”, Brandon Rozzell said, “He played a great game but we came out with a win so that’s all that matters”
Rozzell had 15 points and 3 steals in 37 minutes of play.
VCU’s 19-5 run at the 7 minute mark was enough to avoid a potentially bad loss to round out non conference play (VCU still has it’s ESPN Bracket Buster matchup later this season).
“We lose that game and everything we’ve done this non-conference schedule is down the drain”, added Joey Rodriguez. The junior point guard scored 19 points and added 5 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals.
Larry Sanders lead the Rams with 23 points and added 4 blocks, 2 steals, and 9 rebounds in 27 minutes of play.
The VCU win was the 4th return trip redemption for the Rams, having avenged losses against Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Nevada earlier this year. The game also marked the return of former Rams coach Mack McCarthy.
“It was fun actually”, said McCarthy. “Two years ago I knew the game was on the schedule but until I walked into practice, I didn’t realize the emotion that would come back”
VCU moves to 8-2 (0-1) heading into it’s second conference game this Saturday (7:00) against UNC Wilmington.