Trailing by eight points with just 2:02 left on the clock, UNCW’s Keith Rendleman scored seven unanswered in just 1:03, cutting the Rams lead to one.
Trailing then by two with just five seconds remaining, UNCW had a chance to win it before Rob Brandenberg stole the inbound pass and hit both free throws to ice the 63-59 VCU win.
Brandenberg made the play at the end, but also carried the Rams in a night VCU had a tough time shooting, posting a season-high 21 points on 6-of-12 shooting, and adding six rebounds, two steals and two assists off the bench for the black-and-gold.
The Rams struggled early, going down three after UNCW hit 55% of their attempts in the first half, 60% from long range, but went on a 5-0 run to open the second.
Keith Rendleman’s jumper with 13:59 left to play tied it up at 37, but 48 seconds later freshman Treveon Graham would give VCU the lead for good.
The Rams got the win despite hitting just 5-of-23 shots from long range, including a combined 2-of-12 from the usually steady Troy Daniels and Bradford Burgess.
Burgess went 1-12 from the field but had eight rebounds for the Rams.
Sophomore Juvonte Reddic lead VCU in that category, grabbing nine boards himself including six on the offensive end.
Reddic was VCU’s only other double-digit scoring, contributing 14 points and hitting 50% of his 14 attempts on the night.
It wasn’t exactly the 20 steal performance VCU posted in their first game between these two teams, but the Rams did manage to turn UNCW over 18 times, swiping 14 steals on the night, four from new league leader Briante Weber.
The win moves VCU to 24-6 on the season, tying the programs most ever regular season wins, with a chance at the all-time record this Saturday when the Rams take on George Mason in a black out Siegel Center battle.
Having locked up a top-3 seed with tonight’s win, the Rams can move to the second slot with a W on senior night.