Despite leading by as many as 11 points in the second half, VCU (2-1) couldn’t hang out to win their opening game in the Legends Classic against the Arizona State Sun Devils.
VCU was notably without starting point guard, Ace Baldwin Jr., who was averaging 12 points, 7 assist, and 5 steals per game in two games this season.
Jayden Nunn started for the Rams in Baldwin’s place.
Three straight triples from Jalen DeLoach, Nunn, and David Shriver set the Rams on a 9-0 run and gave them an early 8 point lead over the Sun Devils.
Nunn would finish the game with a team-high in both points and assists—with 13 and 5, respectively.
Arizona St. pulled back within one point before Josh Banks netted the Rams only two free throws of the first half.
The next trip down the court saw a steal at half court from Nunn that led to the fast break dunk for the Rams.
A goaltending call on a Nunn layup would be the closing basket of the half—putting the Rams ahead 35-38 as we headed to the locker room.
Despite starting the second half just 4-15 from the floor, and 1-7 from deep, the Rams connected on 15 of their first 16 free throws to start the game.
But nine straight points from Sun Devil guard, Franki Collins, which rolled into a 15-4 run for ASU tied the game at 56 with just over 5 minutes to play.
A missed free throw, turned into a rebound and a put back for ASU, Duke Brennan, to give the Sun Devils the lead with just 2:51 to play.
The Rams wouldn’t recover.
VCU was held without a field goal for the final 8 minutes and 58 seconds in the game. The Rams would go 4-23 in the second half (17%) after making 14-28 in the first (50%).
The Legends Classic continues tomorrow as the Rams will face off against the Pittsburgh Panthers. That game is set to tip at 7pm ET.