Ace Baldwin surprised fans and perhaps the opposition tonight when he stepped on the court dressed and ready to go after only recently breaking his hand, then went on to score a career-high 28 points for VCU as the Rams downed the Vanderbilt Commodores, 70-65.
In a game that was close throughout, a made free throw from Vandy’s Liam Robbins evened the contest up at 61 with 3:56 left to play. The Rams followed that with a 5-0 run before a Robins and-1 brought the game back within a bucket. On the ensuing possession Baldwin knifed through the lane for an uncontested layup, then after one made Vandy free throw on the other end, sophomore Jamir Watkins delivered the dagger with a made jumper as the shot clock expired to pad VCU to the 70-65 lead that would ride to victory with 16 seconds to play.
Baldwin added four assists to his 28 points and was 7-14 from the field in his first game back including a lights out 4-5 from three. He added 10 free throws on 12 attempts in a game the Rams would stack up 27 fouls on their visiting SEC opponent.
Watkins was VCU’s other lone double-digit scorer, finishing with 13 points, four rebounds, two steals and a block.
Brandon Johns added seven points, five rebounds and an assist for the Black & Gold.
VCU turned Vandy over 19 times to just 15 turnovers themselves and kept the rebound battle within two despite the Commodores massive front court anchored by the 7′ Robbins.
The Rams shot 38.9% from three despite coming into the game as the 309th-ranked three-point shooting team in the country at just 29%.
The win moves VCU to 5-2 on the young season and a perfect 4-0 at home. They’ll hit the road this Saturday for a matchup with former A-10 conference mate, the Temple Owls.