VCU lead #5 Duke for much of the game, but eventually succumbed to the Blue Devils in their first loss of the season, with a final score of 79-71, moving the Rams to 2-1.
VCU came out swinging as the Rams led the Blue Devils 39-38 at the half, shooting 58% overall and 2-4 from 3 point land. Melvin Johnson couldn’t be stopped – he lead the Rams in the first half, shooting 5-6 for 12 points.
Both teams traded leads until the 8:58 mark in the 2nd half, when Duke went on an 8-0 run that would provide them a buffer they would maintain through the rest of the game. VCU struggled to hit shots, and suffered from 27 blown whistles vs. Duke’s 14, which, honestly, is a bias that VCU fans have come to expect.
Melvin Johnson and Mo Alie-Cox lead the Rams in scoring posting 20 and 15 points, respectively. Air Hamdy (Ahmed Mohamed) came off the bench to shoot 5-8 (all mostly inside the arc) for 10 points in an impressive performance that seemingly couldn’t be contained by Duke.
Justin Tillman came off the bench to collect 8 rebounds, but struggled offensively, shooting just 1-5 on the night.
The Rams will match up with Wisconsin (who lost to Georgetown) on Sunday for their 2nd game of the 2K Classic tournament at Madison Square Garden.