VCU used a strong second half and a big-time first half comeback to snap Belmont’s 23-game home win streak, 81-68 tonight in Nashville.
The Rams trailed by 12 early as Belmont hit six of their nine first half three-pointers but battled back to take a three-point lead into the half. After a slow start to the second, VCU erased a six-point deficit as a part of a 22-2 run that essentially pulled the game out of reach for the Bruins.
The Rams hit 61.5% of their second half attempts including four of eight three-pointers while hold Belmont to just 12-of-33 to finish the game.
Senior big, Juvonte Reddic, was able to avoid the foul trouble that had plagued him in a number of VCU’s previous games and contributed and 18-point 11-rebound double-double, his third in the past four games (all coming in under 30 minutes of play).
Treveon Graham joined his usual partner in crime in the high-scorers club, posting 16 points, nine rebounds and three assists in the win.
Sophomore guard, Melvin Johnson, matched Graham’s 16, connecting on four of seven three-pointers, three of which came in the second half.
Tennessee native, JeQuan Lewis, added a career-high 12 points in front of a large group of friends and family who made the 45-minute trip to see the freshman Ram. Lewis scored nine of his points in the second half including a three to tie the game at 50 with 11:35 to play.
Forwards Jordan Burgess and Terrance Shannon were unavailable once again, but redshirt freshmen Mo Alie-Cox filled in admirably, scoring six points and blocking two shots while altering a number of others as VCU clamped down on defense in the second half. Cox has started the last two games for VCU and is quickly becoming a fan favorite due to his ability to protect the rim for a VCU squad that has struggled to guard the paint early in the season.
The win moves VCU to 6-2 and adds a potentially nice resume booster come March, as the Bruins are expected to contend for an Ohio Valley Conference title and already boast a road win over then No.12 North Carolina.
Up next for VCU is another OVC squad, as the black and gold take on the conference’s preseason No.1, the Colonels of Eastern Kentucky Thursday, 7PM at the Siegel Center.