Early deficit dooms Rams in 76-71 loss to Florida State

Melvin Johnson scored a career-high 36 points in VCU's 76-71 loss to Florida State.
Melvin Johnson scored a career-high 36 points in VCU’s 76-71 loss to Florida State.

Trailing by as many as 14 points early, VCU turned an 11-point halftime deficit into a one-point lead late but saw their comeback attempt snuffed out in today’s 76-71 loss to Florida State.

After a brutal first half that resembled VCU’s neutral-court blowout loss to FSU two seasons ago, the black and gold battled back to take a 61-60 lead with under six minutes to play. That lead that quickly vanished thanks to a 7-0 Seminole run before a red-hot Melvin Johnson hit two threes to pull the Rams within one.

That was as close as VCU would get however as Johnson turned the ball over with 29 seconds to play with a chance for the go-ahead bucket, a turnover that would result in a layup and a three-point lead for FSU.

Johnson would miss a three-point attempt on the next possession allowing Florida State to seal VCU’s fate with two made free throws on the other end.

Johnson did all he could to drag VCU to victory, scoring more than half of the Rams’ points, 36, on 14-23 shooting including 8-14 from deep.

He had minimal help from his supporting cast however, getting 13 from senior Korey Billbury on 5-13 shooting and 10 from Mo Alie-Cox, all of which came in the first half.

Starters JeQuan Lewis and Jordan Burgess combined for 10 points and were 2-9 from the field while Ahmed Hamdy was the only player to score off VCU’s bench, hitting one of his two attempts for a season-low two points.

VCU forced 18 Seminole turnovers but committed 20 of their own, seven coming from starting point guard JeQuan Lewis. Johnson added four turnovers while fellow starters Burgess and Billbury combined for five.

The long and athletic Seminoles out-rebounded the Rams by eight and outscored VCU 13-7 at the free throw stripe.

The loss moves VCU to 5-3 on the season and 1-3 against top-100 teams.

The Rams will have a nine-day break before returning to Atlanta, this time in a true road contest against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-2).

A two-time graduate of VCU (School of the Arts '07, Center for Sport Leadership '10), Mat is a co-founder of VCU Ram Nation and a longtime fan as the ...