Snow could not contain what went down on Broad Street in the 80th meeting between VCU and Richmond at the Siegel Center. After the Dayton embarrassment last time out, the Rams returned in home eager for redemption against their cross-town rival. In this Atlantic 10 duel, it was the visiting team that landed a shockwave victory that was heard all over the Commonwealth.
Early Bitings By Spiders
Khwan Fore and Richmond recycled the same play and was rewarded with the opening three-pointer from the corner spot. Fore nearly had a breakaway layup off the VCU turnover but the ball did not find it’s way home.
Malik Crowfield found his home at the three-point spot to keep the contest level. After Nick Sherod connected from mid-range for Richmond, Justin Tillman responded with 4 quick points in the paint for VCU. While Tillman took a breather, Grant Golden took advantage in the paint with nearly uncontested buckets that put Richmond further ahead at 18-13.
The energy in the Siegel Center started boiling after fans and the refs disagreed with a few no-foul calls. Boos started to be heard after Sean Mobley was called for his 2nd personal foul with 8:54 left in the 1st half. VCU and Richmond were pelted with snow for over 2 minutes as both offenses went without a bucket.
A Struggle In The 1st
Mike’l Simms came off the VCU bench and jumpstarted the Rams with an And-1 basket off the blocking foul by De’Monte Buckingham. After the old-fashioned three-point play at the free throw line by Simms, De’Riante Jenkins scooped up a Richmond turnover and went coast to coast to put VCU within 2 points.
Richmond countered with an 8-0 scoring swing late in the 1st half. Golden hit on a fadeaway that just went over Tillman and into the basket. Following that, the Spiders ball control led to two consecutive three-pointers by Buckingham and Julius Johnson. Coach Mike Rhoades quickly called timeout with his team trailing 20-30 in search of answers on defense.
Gaining Ground Towards The Half
That scoring run by the visitors crept to 10-0 before Tillman silenced it from close range. VCU started to get going late with Vann on a floater and Jenkins connecting on the team’s second three of the half. Golden stomped their Black & Gold comeback hopes with his 5th basket in the first half and scored 10 points against the Rams.
After the first half, VCU’s offense was in bind shooting 14% from downtown on 2-of-14 shooting and 35% from the field. Richmond had the most turnovers with 6 however the Spiders produced 22 points inside the painted box and collected 21 total rebounds. Both teams headed into the locker rooms with Richmond holding a 34-27 lead over VCU.
Golden is Golden
Golden’s hot hand on offense was still in tune as the 2nd half began for the Spiders. The redshirt freshman got Richmond going with a three-pointer followed by another fadeaway jumper. On the opposite end, Williams found Tillman near the basket as VCU got to work on the deficit.
VCU’s local Vannimal was unleashed from downtown and had fans hopeful on a successfully And-1 basket. Buckingham got the best of Vann seconds later on a Richmond And-1 that turned into a three-point play for the visitors. After a media timeout, the Spiders got going with a three-pointer from Sherod and forced VCU to call a 30-second timeout before an inbound turnover.
No End In Sight
Trailing 35-47, things would get worse for the Rams. Richmond continued burying baskets from all over the court and kept VCU grounded on defense. Another scoring run was had by Richmond at 11-0; Jacob Gilyard stole the ball from Justin Tillman and scored off of a goaltending by the senior to make it a 20 point advantage for Richmond.
Siegel Center was in a silent trance for almost 6 minutes with VCU having a scoring drought. The lack of noise quickly turned into grief and jeers with Richmond pulling even further away with the lead. After Williams broke through with an acrobatic layup, the crowd cranked the volume in hopes of a Black & Gold comeback.
As Simms hammered down a one-handed jam for the Rams, Sherod answered with a contested layup for the And-1 basket. Richmond had a quiet moment offensively while Simms along with Tillman continued working for the Rams. Buckingham was able to slam down any hope with a thunderous one-hand dunk to make it 65-44 with 5:42 to go.
Spiders Take-Over Siegel
Time was winding down at the Siegel Center along with VCU’s hope of a comeback. Richmond locked VCU out of the paint and threw away the key while scoring 42 points in the paint; the Spiders also manage to win the rebounding battle 38-28. Grant Golden led Richmond with 17 points and four Spiders managed to score in double-digits against the Rams.
Richmond never relinquished the lead Wednesday night and cruised to a 67-52 over VCU inside the Siegel Center. Both teams are now at 3-3 in Atlantic 10 play and sit in the middle of the conference table. Justin Tillman and Mike’l Simms co-led the Rams with 12 points and Issac Vann scored 10 points.
VCU Men’s Basketball quickly returns to the court on Saturday, January 20th for an Atlantic 10 clash with George Washington in the Siegel Center; that game will begin at 12:30 PM on NBC Sports Network. Richmond will also be in conference action at the Robins Center versus La Salle at 2:30 PM.