As tough as it may be to beat a team three times, the Rams certainly made it look easy tonight. VCU jumped out to a 16-point halftime lead that they only built upon in the second half, keeping any Spider comeback attempt a comfortable distance as the black and gold were able to rest some key players in tonight’s 71-53 Atlantic 10 quarterfinal win.
Briante Weber led the charge early, scoring 16 of his 18 points in the first half, and doing so in a combined 18 minutes of play.
Juvonte Reddic saw limited minutes as well but in his case, due to early foul trouble. The senior big grabbed seven rebounds in a season-low 10 minutes of action tonight. Reddic picked up his two quick fouls early in the second half after sitting most of the first.
The absence of a dominant Reddic however was more than made up for in tonight’s balanced attack. Freshman big Mo Alie-Cox, filled in admirably for his elder mentor, grabbing a team-high 10 rebounds and scoring seven points on 2-3 shooting. Alie-Cox blocked two shots on the night but altered a number of others on a night the Spider connected on just 34% of their attempts.
Treveon Graham (14) and Melvin Johnson (13) round out the group of double-digit scorers for VCU. The hometown Johnson connected on three of his eight three-point attempts and dished out two assists in the win.
Graham added six rebounds in the win and posted his fourth consecutive double-digit scoring performance since a four-point night the last time his was in NYC — a four-point performance in 17 minutes at Fordham.
The Rams turned Richmond over just 14 times but were able to create a major attempts advantage by dominating the Spiders 50-28 on the glass.
VCU had a major crowd advantage in this one as Ram fans filled somewhere between 1/3 and half the bottom bowl of the Barclays Center, an advantage they would not need as the large VCU lead kept even Ram fans quiet most of the night.
The Rams will take on the winner of UMass and George Washington (currently in progress) tomorrow at 4PM. Game airs on CBS Sports Network.