It was the classic trap game setup, the Rams headed to Towson, MD with just a days rest after a huge road win against rival Old Dominion, looking to avoid the letdown heading into a thursday night ESPNU tip against a Hofstra team battling for first themselves.
The Towson Tigers (4-15, 0-9) almost caught VCU (16-5, 8-1) in their trap, but senior Joey Rodriguez consistently bailed the Rams out, hitting big shot after big shot en route to a season high 28 points in VCU’s 80-76 win.
Towson shot a red hot first half, and after constant lead changes, got the game within a point as Dre Conner hit 1-of-2 free throws with 1:55 left to play.
After both teams traded misses, Rodriguez was able to get in the lane for his 28th point of the night, extending the Ram lead to 3 with just 35 seconds to play.
Ed Nixon would then rebound a missed 3-point attempt from the Tigers, and hit both of this free throws with 19 seconds left.
Isaiah Phillmore’s dunk with 11 seconds remaining cut the VCU lead to 3, but another Ed Nixon free throw iced the game with just 9 seconds to play, and the Rams left with their seventh straight win in their longest streak of the season
Rodriguez’s 28 lead all players on the evening. He added 4 rebounds to go along with 3 assists on the night.
Three other Rams would find double-digits on the evening, all finishing with 11 points.
Jamie Skeen and Bradford Burgess both added team high 5 rebounds to their combined 22 points. Skeen was limited to only 19 minutes play on the evening as he was saddled with foul trouble early in the second half.
Rob Brandenberg recorded his third double-digit point contribution of the season. Coming off back-to-back CAA Freshman Player of the Week honors, he logged 25 minutes, his second most of the season.
Ed Nixon lead the team with 5 assists on the evening.
Nixon struggled from the field, going 1-5 from the floor, but hit 6-of-9 free throws including the big ones late, good for 8 points on the night.
The win kept VCU tied atop the CAA standings with a now 8-1 Hofstra team.
The Pride gutted out a 2-point home overtime win against JMU shortly after the Rams wrapped things up.
Both teams have just until Thursday to game plan for the battle for soul possession of first place, as they meet at 7PM at the Stuart C. Siegel Center in a televised ESPNU throwdown.
Call (804) 828-RAMS for tickets to Thursday’s game, but do so soon as the game is sure to sellout.