It was fans doing what they do best – a grassroots movement to show love to the team and welcome home the new A-10 Champions. It began with Facebook and Twitter mentions and by the time the team bus arrived there were photographers, TV cameras, dozens of fans, and a group of Rowdy Rams fresh off the Rowdy Bus from Brooklyn.
It’s been a roller coaster season for the Rams. They’ve had some extra adversity to overcome since the January 31st game vs local rival University of Richmond that resulted in major knee injuries for Senior point guard Briante Weber. The inability to compete on the floor hasn’t slowed Weber’s enthusiasm and he’s added value from the bench. There were some games that had unfavorable outcomes for the team during the season, but they pushed forward and that drive has paid off.
It truly was a case of “Third time’s the charm” as VCU made it to the Atlantic 10 tournament championship game for the third straight year and this time they brought home the trophy, rings, and sections of net as a reward for their hard work and determination. A normal schedule is grueling, but for this tournament the Rams had to play 4 games in 4 days to claim the title.
In honor of the challenges that were overcome and to celebrate the victory that has been just out of reach the last 2 seasons, Ram fans gathered in the Siegel Center parking lot to chant, cheer, and congratulate the players, coaches, and staff and give a big welcome home to Havoc.
Here’s a recap of the Rams tournament successes:
3/12/15 #5 VCU vs #12 Fordham (63-57)
This game was the first hurdle and Treveon Graham led the Rams with 22 points and 9 rebounds. Melvin Johnson got hot from beyond the arc and hit 4-7 adding 16 points of his own while freshman Terry Larrier was the third in double digits adding 10.
Despite being tied at the half and Fordham’s team having 4 scorers in double digits Jon Severe (14), Manny Suarez (13), Mandell Thomas (12), and Bryan Smith (11) the other Rams came up just short in the second stanza allowing VCU to survive and advance.
3/13/15 #5 VCU vs #4 Richmond (70-67)
After losing twice to the cross town rival Spiders during the regular season this was a game VCU didn’t want to lose. Melvin Johnson continued his hot streak from beyond the arc hitting 5-9 and leading the Rams with 23 points. JeQuan Lewis added another 10 and Doug Brooks hit 3-5 from beyond the arc to contribute some big shots and 9 points.
Richmond’s Kendall Anthony was a force to be reckoned with putting up 26 points for the Spiders but in the end they would come up just short sending the Rams on to their third opponent.
3/14/14 #VCU vs #1 Davidson (93-73)
This was a big win for the Rams. After a 27 point loss to the Wildcats on March 5th this was a big chance for redemption against a solid team. Davidson got out to a quick 12 point lead in the first half, but the Rams came from behind to end the half up 44-28.
The biggest surprise came from big man Mo Alie-Cox who had 18 points and 8 rebounds before fouling out of the game. Treveon Graham also had 18 points and 9 rebounds. Once again the 3 point shots rained down. Graham shot a perfect 4-4 and Doug Brooks was 2-2 from beyond the arc.
3/15/15 #5 VCU vs #2 Dayton (71-65)
The last 2 seasons the Rams have left the Atlantic 10 tournament in second place. This year was different because they had extra motivation from the bench. Briante Weber didn’t lose his enthusiasm when his injury sidelined him for the season, he channeled all that energy into supporting his team and they in turn focused on a goal – getting him the final cut of the net.
The Rams lost to the Flyers in a narrow margin of 59-55 in their last meeting. As a #5 seed they had to win 3 games in 3 days to make it to their 3rd consecutive A-10 championship final game.
VCU hit some big shots during the tournament with the final being no different with the Rams hitting 10 from beyond the arc. Treveon Graham led with 20 points, JeQuan Lewis added 15, Mo Alie-Cox had 13, and Terry Larrier followed with 10.
The Flyers kept the pressure up with 4 players contributing double digits. Scoochie Smith led with 16, Jordan Sibert and Dyshawn Pierre both added 14, and Kendall Pollard had 13. Dayton scored just 1 point less in the second half, but the Rams first half lead gave them the edge to win the tournament.
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