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Rams comeback comes up short

Treveon Graham led all players with a game-high 25 in last night's rivalry classic.
Treveon Graham led all players with a game-high 25 in last night’s rivalry classic.

VCU fought hard in last night’s thriller at Richmond but ultimately came up just short in the 67-63 double-overtime loss.

The Rams got off to a terrible start, trailing by as many as 16 points in regulation before battling back to tie the game with a Treveon Graham deep three with six seconds to play.

Then, in overtime, the Rams looked as though they were seconds away from sealing the deal after Melvin Johnson hit two free throws to extend VCU’s lead to three with seven seconds to play. VCU then chose to foul to keep the Spiders from hitting a three to tie the game. Instead, Richmond made the first of two free throws before intentionally missing the second, a miss that would roll off the hands of reserve big Jarred Guest to give the Spiders one last shot.

With just two seconds to play, Richmond then ran a slip screen reminiscent of Joey Rodriguez to Bradford Burgess, getting an uncontested layup from sophomore TJ Cline to send the game to double-overtime where the Spiders would win it.

Graham’s deep three to tie it late was a part of a game-high 25-point night for the senior. 23 of those points were scored after the first half. The A-10 Player of the Year hopeful added 10 rebounds to complete the double-double in the loss.

Prior to Graham’s second half resurgence it was sophomore guard JeQuan Lewis who kept the Rams from being blown out early. Lewis scored 10 of VCU’s 20 first half points on 4-8 shooting in a half where no other Rams could get anything going.

No other Ram could get it going on a night the black and gold shot just 32.8% from the field. The league’s stingiest three-point defense held VCU to just 3-19 from range for a combined 6-39 in the series.

It was the first Richmond sweep of VCU since 2001. The Rams won all three contests against the Spiders last season including a season-ending Atlantic 10 tournament victory.

The loss paired with a Davidson win at Rhode Island dropped VCU into a four-way tie a top the Atlantic 10 standings with three games to play.

VCU (21-7, 11-4) holds a head-to-head tie-breaker over Rhode Island and will face Dayton on Saturday at the Siegel Center before traveling to Davidson on March 5.

Three straight wins to end the season would give the Rams their first-ever Atlantic 10 regular season title and a No.1 seed in this year’s conference tournament due to that head-to-head tie-breaker with Rhode Island if the northern Rams were to win all three of their remaining contests as well (at La Salle, at Dayton and a season finale versus Saint Joseph’s).