It wasn’t always pretty, but the end result was still a win as VCU survived a scare from Radford despite a season-high 25-turnover performance.
VCU led for much of the first half before Radford took a late two-point lead they would carry into halftime. The Big South squad would add to that lead early in the second, extending their cushion to an eight-point advantage at 35-27. They would carry that advantage into the the 15-minute mark at 40-32, then, just as it appeared the wheels were officially coming off for the black and gold, the Rams fought back to eventually take a 46-45 lead.
VCU extended that to an eight-point lead themselves at 53-45 until Radford finally broke a six-minute and seven-second scoring drought. The Highlanders then clawed to within five of VCU, only to see the Rams extend that advantage to their largest lead at 12 with just five minutes to go. Radford pulled to within six with under a minute to go, but by that point it was already too late with the Rams in the double-bonus where they were able to hit their last four free throws to finish with the 70-62 win.
VCU shot well from the field in the win, finishing 48.9% of their attempts including 42.9% from three (albiet on just seven attempts), but managed to once again stack fouls on their opponent — 26 in total — to get to the stripe where they would hit 23 of their 31 free throw attempts.
Brandon Johns Jr. led the Rams on a birthday game for him. He finished with 18 points on a 74.5% true shooting percentage. Johns had just two turnovers in 30 minutes of action.
Jalen DeLoach hit seven of his 11 attempts in the win, many of which coming from easy dunks. He tallied 15 points and nine rebounds, but accounted for five VCU turnovers on the night. Jamir Watkins matched those five turnovers, but had a team-high 11 rebounds in the first game VCU has out-rebounded an opponent since their second game of the season against Morgan State. Watkins finished with eight points on the night. Ace Baldwin had an uncharacteristic six-turnover night himself. The junior point guard finished with 10 points and six assists for the black and gold.
The win moves VCU to 7-4 on the season heading into a weekend matchup with Northern Illinois (3-7). The Huskies will head to the Siegel Center as the lowest ranked opponent (306th nationally according to kenpom.com) since the Rams’ season opener against Manhattan.