VCU (10-3) used a deep bench, and hot first half shooting to defeat the visiting Bison of Howard University, 85-51.
JeQuan Lewis would lead all Rams in scoring with 17 points, 6 steals, and 5 assists. All but 4 of these points would come in the first 20 minutes as Lewis was only used for 2 minutes in the second half.
Jonathan Williams (14pts, 6ast) scored the first basket of the night for the Rams to take a 2-0 lead. Solomon Mangham would respond for Howard to create the games only tie at 2-2.
From there the Rams used a 14-0 run to create it’s first separation between the teams. After being held scoreless over a span of 5:13 Howard hit back-to-back threes to pull the game to a 16-8 lead for the Rams.
A series of back-and-forth runs between the two teams would dictate much of the first half pace. Howard would hold VCU scoreless for 3:50 of the first half and mount a 10-0 run, but the Rams responded with a 13-1 run over the next 3:20 to take a 29-13 lead.
Junior Justin Tillman (12pts,9reb) saw extended minutes in the first half with Senior Mo Alie-Cox (2pts) hampered by foul trouble. VCU was also without big-man Ahmed Hamdy-Mohamed who did not play as per a coaching decision.
The Rams used every available player on the night with 10 of 11 scoring at least one basket.
Four VCU players would end the night in double-digit scoring: Lewis (17) , Williams (14), Tillman (12), and Malik Crowfield (10)—the latter being a career-high.
VCU committed early to the pressure defense and would force HU into 21 total turnovers, converting those into 24 points. The Rams would only turn the ball over 11 times.
In total, 42 of VCU’s 85 points would come from bench players. The Rams leaned heavily on bench players in most of the second half as the victory was all but secured.
VCU will return to action on Friday, December 30th at 8:00pm when the Rams head to Fairfax, VA to take on the Patriots of George Mason in the first official game of the A10 season.