Rams outlast Shaka Smart’s Texas Longhorns in defensive battle

It was a battle you might expect from two teams who are known for their defense, but in the end, VCU (7-2) came out the victor in tonight’s 54-53 road win against Shaka Smart and the Texas Longhorns.

The Rams took a one-point lead into the half despite shooting just 26% to start the game. Then after trading blows throughout the second, a Sean Mobley three-point shot would give the black and gold a lead they would never surrender.

Texas pulled the Horns within one twice over the final 4:13 and had a chance to win it on a final shot, but a missed three-pointer from Virginia native and former VCU target, Matt Coleman, sealed the deal for the black and gold.

Marcus Evans led the Rams with 16 points on the night but exited the game late with what appeared to be cramps, gingerly walking off the floor with a tightened left leg.

De’Riante Jenkins added 12 points for the Rams with Marcus Santos-Silva rounding out VCU’s three-man group of double-digit scorers, adding a game-high 16 rebounds in the win.

The Rams finished the game shooting just 28.1% from the floor but outscored the Longhorns 16-5 at the free throw stripe, out-rebounded the larger Big 12 team by four and won the turnover battle by three.

The win gives VCU a key road victory to beef up the Rams NCAA tournament resume with another big game on deck this weekend as the black and gold will quickly get set for a road contest at No.4 UVA this Sunday afternoon.

VCU went 1-1 overall in the series scheduled via Shaka Smart’s contract buyout, avenging last season’s four-point loss at the Siegel Center.

The loss drops Texas to 5-3 on the season and put Smart a consecutive 0-2 this year against his former VCU assistants, having dropped an earlier contest this week against Radford, coached by former VCU Final 4 assistant, Mike Jones.

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