VCU has been red-hot as of late and that play made the eight-mile trip to the University of Richmond where the Rams routed the Spiders 74-62, in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score even suggests.
In what was a tight game early, the black and gold took a 10-point lead into the half, then after Richmond trimmed that to just four with just under nine minutes to go, hit an extra gear to send Spider fans to the exits early.
With 8:47 left to play in the game, the Rams held Richmond to no field goals until a Jason Roche made three trimmed the 20-point lead VCU built to 17 with under a minute to play. Some sloppy play in the last minute of action made the game appear closer than it truly was, but by that point the outcome was already determined, moving the Rams to 6-1 in Atlantic 10 play and currently in sole-possession of first in the conference.
Jamie Watkins came off the bench to lead VCU with 15 points in the win on 5-8 shooting. The sophomore played one of his most complete and controlled games of the season, grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds to secure the double-double and added two assists, two steals, two blocks and had just two turnovers on the night.
Watkins was one of five Rams in double figures, joining Ace Baldwin (14), Brandon Johns Jr. (12), Jayden Nunn (11) and David Shriver in that club on a night the Rams would post a 59.2% true shooting percentage in the victory.
VCU held the Spiders to 37.3% shooting, but did see Richmond hit 17 of 21 free throws on the night.
The usually rebound-challenged Rams out-boarded Richmond 37-27 on the night.
Mike Rhoades’ club was a 2-point kenpom underdog heading into the contest, meaning the 12-point victory will no doubt continue VCU’s rise up the rankings in terms of both kenpom and the NET. The black and gold received two votes in this AP poll, have won five straight and 10 of their last 11, four of their last five by double figures including two in A-10 road victories.
The Rams move to 15-5 on the season and 6-1 in Atlantic 10 play.