After expressing mahalo in Maui, VCU Men’s Basketball returned home to the Siegel Center Tuesday night versus Appalachian State. Home was home for VCU with the Rams reigniting on both sides of the ball to get above .500 on the win column.
(VIDEO: scRAMbled Episode 9!)
An Opening Scoring Rout
VCU had a stumble upon tip-off but quickly rebounded with an 8-0 scoring spree. Justin Tillman handled the early VCU turnover as the senior swatted Justin Forrest on the layup attempt in hot pursuit. From there, Xavier Jackson made his first start for the Rams count with a steal that unleashed VCU’s offense.
In a matter of two minutes, VCU scored 8 unanswered points. Jonathan Williams started the party with a three-pointer. De’Riante Jenkins added a steal followed by a one-handed breakaway slam to keep the party rocking in the Stu. Williams came up big once again defensively with a block that turned into a 3 Ball for Agent Zero.
Appalachian State found themselves in an early deficit with 18 minutes left in the 1st half. Issac Johnson slammed home the Mountaineers first basket to get things going for the visitors. Justin Forrest and Ronshad Shabazz put in three-pointers to make it a contest once again.
Agent Zero & Lane Goes Rogue
Jenkins was in his zone on offense with 10 points in 7 minutes of action. His number was called once again from the three-point and Jenkins delivered for VCU. Tillman banked in his first basket off the glass to put the Rams further ahead of the Mountaineers as the 1st half continued.
HAVOC continued pushing the Rams ahead with turnovers by the Mountaineers. Khris Lane added extra insurance from inside to put VCU up double-digits. Shabazz got Appalachian State back into the contest with an And-1 basket but could not turn it into a 3 point play at the free throw line.
Mountaineers Climbing Back
Tillman responded with a silky three-pointer that had Ram fans inside the Stu excited once again. Groans came from the crowd moments later as Bennett Holley connected on a wide open three-point shot from the corner of VCU’s bench.
As the first half continued, Appalachian State started to lock down the paint. The Mountaineers held the advantage on the glass and were able to tie the game on the other end. Upon half-time, ASU outrebounded VCU 21-11 and scored 22 points in the paint.
One Silky Counter From Range
HAVOC began to disarray at moments which led to wide open scoring attempts for ASU late in the half. Appalachian State took their first lead of the contest at 31-29 with 4:45 remaining. Mike’l Simms joined Jackson from the bench as the VCU guards sliced and diced their way inside for layups.
Lane finished his 11 points in the first half with a layup to put VCU up a point with 50 seconds remaining. O’Showen Williams took the air of the Stu with a three that made the game 45-43 ASU with 29 seconds on the clock. Jonathan Williams had the last laugh from downtown at the buzzer to give VCU the 46-45 advantage at half-time.
More HAVOC Please!
VCU kept their foot on the gas in the 2nd Half. Tillman began the festivities with a drive to the basket followed by Lane moments later. HAVOC forced an early ASU turnover on a 5-second violation on the inbound.
Jenkins went back to work from behind the three-point line to make it 54-47 VCU. Appalachian State called a 30-second timeout in an attempt to restart their team. The Rams connected on their first 3 field goal attempts of the second half.
The Mountaineers answered their 3-minute scoreless drought from downtown thanks to Justin Forrest. Things did not get easier for ASU with Sean Mobley and Jonathan Williams burning the net for three points. VCU remained perfect on their first three attempts from downtown.
Mountain Was A Tad Too Steep
Appalachian State once again went cold on offense and the Fro went back to work on the scoreboard. Tillman had the hot hand under the basket and connected on his second three-ball of the contest to put VCU up 12 points.
Siegel Center evolved into the Animal on Tuesday night after Williams scored a three-ball just as the shot clock expired. More offense came for VCU in the form of Mobley, Marcus Santos-Silva and Tillman going to work with rebounds and second-chance opportunities.
Three-pointers just kept falling for VCU against the Mountaineers. In the 2nd half, the Rams went 5-of-8 on 63% shooting from the spot and 50% overall for the game. Johnny Williams led the way with four three-pointers followed by De’Riante Jenkins with three of his own.
Cruise To The W
The deficit was too great for ASU as time expired. VCU rolled to the finish line with an 81-72 win over Appalachian State and improved to 4-3 overall. Justin Tillman led VCU in scoring with 21 points and collected 6 rebounds in 27 minutes of play.
Khris Lane had 17 points and 6 rebounds against the Mountaineers. Johnny Williams played for 35 minutes and finished with 18 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds. De’Riante Jenkins was the fourth Ram in double figures with 13 points and went 3-for-3 from downtown. Ronshad Shabazz led ASU with 19 points.
HAVOC created 19 turnovers for ASU and had 11 steals. VCU scored 21 points off those turnovers and dished 18 assists.
Next up for VCU Men’s Basketball is a rivalry game against Old Dominion on Saturday, December 2nd. Tip-Off inside the Siegel Center is set for 7 PM on MASN.