Injured Graham carries VCU in gutsy road win
What a game, what a performance.
Treveon Graham led VCU with 26 points as the Rams defeated Rhode Island on the road, 65-60, in one of the gutsiest performances you’ll see from a VCU Ram.
Nothing seemed to be going right early, then to make matters worse, VCU’s Freight Train clutched his ankle after Rhode Island’s TJ Buchanan landed on Graham’s leg. Graham hobbled off the court — all-be-it without help — where his status to finish the game seemed in doubt before returning to lead the Rams to victory.
Down two after trailing since 15:45 mark in the first half, Graham grabbed a rebound off a missed EC Matthews 3-point attempt with 2:39 to play. Then, on the ensuing possession, a driving JeQuan Lewis found Graham deep where the senior drained a three-pointer to give VCU their first lead of the game with just 2:29 to play. The Rams wouldn’t allow a Rhode Island basket until just two seconds to play in the game, and got a Mo Alie-Cox and four Briante Weber free throws to end the game on a 12-2 to leave Kingston with a huge road win.
Graham scored 16 of his 26 points to end the game on 6-9 shooting in 16 minutes of second half action.
The frosty conditions outside weren’t the only thing cold in Kingston early, as VCU connected on just 35.5% of their attempts in the first half while connecting on just three of their eight free throws. The cold streak from the foul line continued into the second half before Briante Weber hit his only four free throws to end the game. The Rams were just 9-21 at the stripe on the night.
VCU’s shooting with the clock live picked up however, as the Rams shot 46.4% in the second half including 45.5% from deep to finish the game.
The turnover-prone Rhode Island Rams had just six first half turnovers but couldn’t contain havoc for a full 40 minutes, as VCU was able to force 12 second half turnovers to climb back in the game.
VCU held Rhode Island to just 1-8 from distance on the night.
Graham’s 26 points allowed him to pass both Dom Jones and then Calvin Duncan to go from eight to sixth on VCU’s all-time scoring list.
Mo Alie-Cox was VCU’s only other double-digit scorer with 10 points. Alie-Cox added three blocks but was just out-paced by freshman Justin Tillman with four off the bench.
The win moves VCU to 14-3 overall and 4-0 in Atlantic 10 play, temporarily good for sole possession of first place in the A-10. Dayton remains the only other undefeated A-10 team at 3-0.
VCU will remain on the road for a Saturday matchup at Duqesne. Game tips at 2PM.