On a special night at the Siegel Center for a good cause, VCU had a rough night against Liberty Thursday evening. The Flames were able to outwork the Rams in an exhibition game that showed a variety of Black & Gold woes.
Talbert vs. Tillman
Justin Tillman and Ezra Talbert went to war after tip-off. The Fro of VCU went to work near the rim with the opening bucket. Talbert answered back with scoring Liberty’s first 7 points including a two-handed jam. De’Riante Jenkins got his offensive game started with a fade-away jumper from the free throw line.
There was a cool breeze inside the Siegel Center with VCU’s offense going scoreless for nearly 3 minutes. Liberty was able to produce only 5 points during that span; Williams broke the ice at the free throw line trailing 7-12.
Cue The Visiting 3 Ball
Liberty continued with numerous buckets on their end. Isaiah Williams cashed in an And-1 opportunity to put the Flames up 6 points. Malik Crowfield nearly got VCU back in it from downtown only to be short lived by Ryan Kemrite’s 3 Ball moments later. Lovell Cabbil got inside for a layup to increased the deficit to double-figures at 27-17.
Jonathan Williams mustered a comeback with a much-needed 3 point play for the Rams. Liberty still had the hot hand from downtown as Talbert hit his 3rd consecutive three-ball of the half. Ezra Talbert led the Flames with 15 first-half points and did not miss a shot.
So About That 1st Half…
Game tempo stayed under the speed limit with the officiating. The refs called 35 total fouls in the first half with VCU whistled for 18 of those offenses. Lewis Djonkam had 4 fouls upon the halftime buzzer.
Issac Vann gave the home crowd a pick-me-up with a three-ball from the corner just before the buzzer. Liberty went into the locker room with a 51-38 lead over VCU.
That Kind Of Night At Siegel
De’Riante Jenkins got VCU and the crowd started from downtown as the 2nd half got underway. Liberty was on the wrong side of the ref’s whistle, however, VCU could not capitalize offensively with baskets. Talbert’s shooting continued cooking as he ignited Liberty with his 4th straight three of the night.
Another attempt at cutting the deficit by VCU was led by sophomore guard out of Louisiana. Crowfield once again struck from the three-point spot while Mike’l Simms did work at the free throw line on and And-1 opportunity.
Tyler Maye made a huge play for the Rams on a steal that led him on a coast to coast finish at the basket. Siegel Center pumped up the volume in the crowd as VCU continued battling from behind.
A Black & Gold Wake-Up Call
Crowfield and the three kept bonding with his 4th three of the night. Momentum came back to Liberty’s side as Myo Baxter-Bell scored an And-1 from under the basket. During that play, Justin Tillman picked up his third personal foul.
The game got worse for Tillman minutes later with his fourth foul call. Foul trouble and turnovers continued being the Rams’ downfall as Liberty added to their lead. Ezra Talbert finished the night as Liberty’s leading scorer with 23 points; Ryan Kermite added 14 more.
VCU finished the game with 5 Rams in double figures. Malik Crowfield led the Rams with 14 points and went 4-of-5 from downtown. Isaac Vann added 13 points while De’Riante Jenkins and Justin Tillman finished with 12 points each. Jonathan Williams scored 11 points and dished 5 assists.
At the end of regulation, Liberty were the victors over VCU 85-69 in the exhibition. The Flames scored 20 points off of turnovers and outscored the VCU bench 30-20. VCU had 20 turnovers against Liberty.
VCU Men’s Basketball returns to the Siegel Center on Friday, November 3rd in their next exhibition against Virginia Union. Tip-off will begin at 7 PM.