The Rams surrendered just 23 first half points and needed every bit of that defensive effort. The Hawks caught fire in the second, hitting 8-of-12 three pointers and 60.7% of their overall second half attempts. But VCU matched the offensive explosion and were able to hit just enough free throws in the end to hang on for the win.
Sophomore Treveon Graham led the Rams with 17 points in the win. Graham was 6-11 on the game and hit three of his five attempts from long range.
Troy Daniels chipped in a second best 14 points, all in the second half.
Rob Brandenberg (13), Darius Theus (12) and hometown boy Melvin Johnson (12) round out the list of double-digit scorers for the Rams.
Junior Juvonte Reddic played just 22 minutes due to foul trouble, but led all players with eight rebounds on the night.
Sophomore Briante Weber led VCU with five steals in his 18 minutes of play. Weber added five assists and had no turnovers in the win.
St. Joseph’s hit three 3-pointers to cut the Rams 10-point lead to just three over the first 3:02 of the second half. But VCU battled back with a large Ram contingent behind them, eventually extending their lead to 17 behind a Justin Tuoyo 3-pointer with 8:11 to play.
A Langston Galloway 3-pointer with trimmed the VCU lead to four with 11 second to play, but a missed assignment left Briante Weber open for a highlight real jam to extend the VCU lead to six, icing the game with just five second to play.
The win advances VCU to the semifinals to take on the winner of the UMass v Temple.
Game tips at 4PM tomorrow at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY.