After a slew of early lead changes then a handful of double-digit Saint Joseph’s leads, VCU charged back to pull within three points of the Hawks in a tough road atmosphere. Then, with 33 seconds to play after a digging themselves out of a 13-point whole, Treveon Graham attacked the basket, only to see SJU’s Halil Kanacevic slide under him while he was in flight. The obvious call: and-1, and Graham goes to the line with a chance to hit one free throw to tie the game. The ACTUAL call: charge…thus putting the ball in SJU’s hands with less than a shot clock to play while also keeping Kanacevic and his four fouls on the court. From there St. Joe’s iced the game at the line, winning 69-62.
VCU didn’t play their best basketball of the season tonight, yet fought back for a chance to extend the game to overtime before the infamous call. The Rams trailed by eight at the half but were able to outscore Saint Joe’s in the second despite a five-foul second half disadvantage.
Saint Joe’s was able to build their first half cushion by limiting turnovers and dominating VCU on the offensive glass. VCU would eventually pull the final rebound differential to a respectable -4 but with just a +2 turnover advantage were unable to get the extra possessions they usually create. The Rams had just three more field goal attempts on the evening but eight fewer attempts at the free throw stripe where they were outscored by five.
Juvonte Reddic led VCU with 17 points and eight rebounds. Treveon Graham finished with eight rebounds as well and added 13 points for the Rams.
Melvin Johnson came off the bench to spark VCU with 14 points of his own including a 5-0 one-man run at one point in the second to cut the SJU lead to three.
Briante Weber rounds out the list of double-digit scorers finishing with 11 points and four assists in the loss.
The loss moves VCU to 19-5 on the season and 7-2 in Atlantic 10 play, good for third due to a current tie-breaker held by GW after the Rams dropped a road game against the Colonials almost a month ago.
VCU will have a chance to revenge that loss Wednesday when GW comes to the Siegel Center for a 7PM tip that will air on NBC Sports Network.