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Graham-less Rams survive Duquesne

VCU's JeQuan Lewis tied his career high with a team-high 16 points to lead VCU in tonight's win.
VCU’s JeQuan Lewis tied his career high with a team-high 16 points to lead VCU in tonight’s win.

VCU extended their winning streak to 10 today but it wasn’t easy, hanging on to defeat Duquesne 70-64 in Pittsburgh.

The Rams took a while to adjust to life without Treveon Graham, as the senior sat out the game after sustaining an ankle injury in VCU’s latest road win at Rhode Island. The black and gold trailed 15-9 seven minutes in but were able to find their groove to take a 14-point lead into the half.

Duquesne methodically chipped away at that lead, cutting the margin to just two with 2:28 seconds to play. Then, with just 59 seconds left in regulation, junior Melvin Johnson connected on a three to extend VCU’s lead to five, a lead the Rams would be able to pad at the free throw stripe to pick up their fifth A-10 win of the season.

Johnson finished with 14 points on 5-16 shooting, hitting four of his five attempts from beyond the three-point line. He was 40% from deep.

Mel was bested only by his backup, JeQuan Lewis. The sophomore from Dickson, Tennessee posted a game-high and season-high 16 points for the Rams in his 29 minutes of action. Lewis led all players with five assists and had just one turnover in the win. He added three rebounds and a steal.

Fellow sophomore, Doug Brooks, added 10 points in just nine minutes of action. Brooks was 4-6 on the night and grabbed three rebounds and a steal in the win.

Senior Briante Weber finished with seven points and grabbed four steals to pull within one of tying Pepe Sanchez for third on the NCAA’s all-time list.

VCU struggled to score in the paint without Graham against Duquesne’s challenging 2-3 zone. The Rams hit 40% of their threes but connected on just 37.9% of their attempts inside the arc.

The Rams turned the Dukes over 16 times but were out-rebounded by 16 boards in the win.

Pretty or not, the Rams once again proved hard to kill, picking up their fifth road win of the season. They’ll look to add another the next time they hit the floor, as VCU heads to Saint Louis Friday before returning to the Siegel Center to face George Washington on Jan 27.