The War on I-64 sped down to the Siegel Center with VCU versus Old Dominion in their 95th meeting of the two Virginia rivals. After losing two close games in the Emerald Coast Classic, the Rams aimed to bounce back against the Monarchs while avenging last season’s defeat in Norfolk. Coach Rhoades got quality performances from the VCU bench that fueled the Rams to another win over their noisy neighbors.
Reserves Get Loose!
Mike’l Simms started cooking off the tip-off with 5 quick points including a three-pointer on VCU’s first shot attempt. The offense was a cold bump for the Monarchs starting 0-for-3 from the field. Marquis Godwin got ODU running with a layup followed by 5 points from Malik Curry putting the Monarchs out in front.
KeShawn Curry led VCU off the bench to get the Rams leveled. Curry turned a steal into a breakaway two-step through the lane. Corey Douglas pumped the volume on the next VCU possession with a hook shot that turned into an And-1 opportunity. Old Dominion went scoreless for 3 minutes while VCU put in work to tie the game at 14-14. The Rams went 5-of-7 from the field during that stretch.
“We were so proud of (VCU’s bench). They picked us up huge tonight.”
-VCU Senior Guard, Mike’l Simms
Monarchs Struggle Yet Survive
Turnovers and poor shooting was a spiraling trend for Old Dominion. Another scoreless span of 3 minutes resulted in 3 ODU turnovers while trailing. De’Riante Jenkins got into the mix from the corner three-point spot keeping the Rams ahead late. Xavier Green changed the script with an And-1 layup off the foul for Simms to take a 27-26 ODU lead with 1:34 remaining.
Old Dominion mustered a 7-0 scoring run just before halftime to steal the lead. VCU went 1-of-8 to finish the half at 34% from the field and 25% from three. Even with 9 turnovers, Old Dominion led VCU 29-28 at halftime.
Where Was This At 1st?!?
VCU had a better start in the 2nd half going 3-of-5 to go up 36-31. Issac Vann started VCU with a lay-in followed by Simms’ second three-pointer of the contest. Santos-Silva did work from the line and connected on a close-range jumper over Dajour Dickens near the basket.
The Black & Gold reserves once again made an impact. Bones Hyland heated up from downtown then found Douglas on a bounce pass for two more on a quick 5-0 VCU run. Vince Williams alongside Curry made things difficult for ODU on defense causing headaches and turnovers.
Shooters Gonna Shoot!
Malik Crowfield collected the hot hand and started firing from downtown. Crowfield hit back-to-back threes to send Siegel Center in a vocal frenzy with a double-digit lead. Curry soared to the basket to create an 8-0 VCU run in less than two minutes alongside a 51-39 lead. #13 wasn’t done hitting another dagger behind the arc to go three-for-three for 9 points.
“Malik is taking open threes. It’s amazing that when you take open threes that they go in. I think he’s done a great job getting his body right…just needs to keep on shooting.”
-VCU Head Coach, Mike Rhoades
A counter was in the works for Old Dominion with an 8-0 run of their own. Consecutive layups and a jumper from Godwin has ODU back in the running until Vann silenced the visitors with VCU’s sixth three of the half. The Rams finished the second half shooting 6-of-10 from three.
VCU finished the game from the free-throw line going 10-of-12 to silence the Monarchs for good. A 69-57 VCU win over Old Dominion was the Rams’ fifth consecutive win over their rival at the Siegel Center. Tonight’s victory was VCU’s first comeback win when trailing at halftime.
Marcus Santos-Silva was VCU’s top scorer with 13 points and went 7-of-9 at the free-throw line. Marcus Evans and Issac Vann added 10 points each. Malik Crowfield led from VCU’s bench going 3-of-3 from three for 9 points. HAVOC forced 18 turnovers and held Old Dominion to their second worse performance from three at 13% (2-of-15).
“It’s not always pretty. But it’s a win. Proud of the guys tonight.”
Coming up next for VCU is a duel with Missouri State inside the Siegel Center on Sunday, December 15th. Tip-off begins at 7 PM on MASN and ESPN+.