Senior Night at the Siegel Center was headlined with a high stakes clash amongst the Atlantic 10 Standings. Malik Crowfield, Marcus Evans, De’Riante Jenkins, Mike’l Simms, and Issac Vann were honored as VCU’s senior class before taking the stage one last time at home versus Duquesne.
The Dukes rode into the Commonwealth on a 2 game winning streak and looking for their first win over VCU in school history (0-7 all-time). Duquesne’s double-round bye dreams for the A-10 Tournament was still plausible in a 3-way tie for 4th place at 10-6 with Saint Louis and Saint Bonaventure.
VCU once again headed into war with 10 players; Evans, Douglas, Jenkins, and Williams was unavailable due to injury. Sitting at 8-8 in 8th place, the Rams wanted to keep the momentum and winning going towards Brooklyn.
Get Out Of The Rams’ Way!
Marcus Santos-Silva led a path to the rim to start the game with a 6-0 VCU run. The VCU junior bullied his way inside for 4 quick points followed by Hason Ward dunking an alley from Bones Hyland. Duquesne started the game rattled with 3 turnovers in the opening 3 minutes of the contest.
Coach Dambrot calmed down the Dukes and the visitors jumped into an 11-10 lead after their first three-pointer by Lamar Norman, Jr. VCU continued crushing the paint with more Rams attacking the basket. KeShawn Curry connected on an And-1 finish putting VCU back in front and Bones Hyland hit the Euro step during another 6-0 VCU run.
Oh, Baby A Triple!
The third time was the Black & Gold charm with VCU’s third 6-0 run of the first half. The connection of Bones and Ward flourished once again with an alley-oop dunk off the backboard. VCU roamed into a double-digit lead after Simms scored from three and Siegel Center got even louder cheering on the Rams.
VCU’s offense took a chill just before halftime. After a hot start, the Rams went 1-for-10 from the field and had a scoring drought lasting the final 2:21 of the half. Duquesne clawed back into the mix and trailed the Rams 30-26 at the half.
A 3-of-4 shooting start revitalized VCU’s offense to start the 2nd half. Vann hit the Rams’ first field goal from three then Bones Hyland erupted for 5 points on a three and fast-break layup. Tavian Dunn-Martin responded on behalf of Duquesne with three triples from downtown putting the Dukes within 3 points.
Once again a 6-0 Black & Gold run pushed the Rams ahead. This time the run was showcased at the rim with layups and a dunk by Vann and Ward. Duquesne’s offense sputtered for nearly 3 minutes without a basket while Santos-Silva cashed in 6 consecutive points. VCU went 10-of-14 (71.4%) from the field to start the 2nd half.
Crash & Burn
Duquesne created an opportunity fueled by a 12-2 run of their own. During that run, VCU committed 4 turnovers and went scoreless for 3:16. The Dukes made the Rams pay on the fastbreak and Norman Jr capped his second three-ball putting Duquesne 2 points away from the Rams.
Six minutes and 13 seconds passed between VCU’s last field goal from Simms. Momentum returned to VCU’s side after Marcus Weathers received a technical foul at the 3:40 mark. Simms pryed the ball away from Weathers leading to a physical frustration foul that the officials deemed as a technical. Vann made both free throws on VCU’s end of the floor putting VCU up 65-61.
Extra Minute Flatline
Santos-Silva made a big defensive play with 57 seconds remaining on a solo steal and layup finish near half-court. The VCU junior forward came up big once again taking a charge from Michael Hughes for his 5th and disqualifying personal foul. Bones Hyland missed both VCU free throws and Norman capitalized for Duquesne tying the game at 70-70 on a layup forcing overtime.
There was not enough in the tank for VCU to close the deal. Santos-Silva did all he could with 24 points and 8 rebounds amongst his 37:28 shift. Dunn-Martin did damage from the free-throw line and beyond leading Duquesne with 23 points off the bench. For the first time in school history, Duquesne left Siegel Center victorious on VCU Senior Night 80-77.
Friday Night Finale!
The final A-10 game of the 2019-20 season for VCU Men’s Basketball takes place at Davidson on Friday, March 6th. Gametime is set for a 9:00 PM tip-off on ESPN2 inside John M. Belk Arena.
VCU won the first contest 73-62 back in early February at the Siegel Center.