In what was billed an “Under-The-Radar Battle” for Saturday night did not disappoint. The Rams welcomed the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State and fought back-and-forth for most of the night before a record 88th consecutive sold-out crowd at the Siegel Center.
It took 40 minutes, but in the end VCU pulled out a tough home win, 80-77.
VCU (8-3) started the game on a 7-0 run fueled by JeQuan Lewis (20pts). The senior point guard hit the games first basket with a layup in the paint and then followed it up with a three pointer. The Rams would hold MTSU scoreless for the first 3 minutes and 57 seconds.
Lewis’ second three pointer of the night would come at the 13:18 mark and push the Rams out to a 10 point lead. The Rams lead for 14:56 of the first half. Giddy Potts (25pts) hit back-to-back threes for the Blue Raiders to tie the game at 27 with 6:26 to play in the first half.
It was a three pointer, again from Potts, with 53 seconds left in the first half that would give the Blue Raiders their first lead of the night.
Samir Doughty (14pts, 4ast) would use the final possession of the first half to hit a layup and give the Rams the halftime lead, 38-37.
In a game that saw 12 lead changes, the Rams need to find ways to win after finding their points guards in foul trouble.
Mo Alie-Cox would get 10 of his 15 points in the second half, on 3-3 shooting. The senior was also 4-6 from the free throw line, with all four free throw coming in the final 6:55 of gameplay.
A layup by JaCorey Williams would tie the game at 61 with 6:33 to play.
But, back-to-back scoring possessions by Lewis and Doughty would give the Rams the 65-61 lead, and the final lead change on the night.
The Blue Raiders would make a late game surge to get within two points in the final 10 seconds, but a desperation three by Potts would bounce off the side of the rim as the buzzer sounded.
The Rams return to action on Thursday, December 22th at 7:00pm against Louisiana-Monroe right here at the Siegel Center.