After two nail biting defeats in New York, VCU returned to the Siegel Center and soared over American University to a 72-44 win Wednesday night.
A new look for VCU in starting lineup as Coach Will Wade placed Korey Billbury and Michael Gilmore in and sat JeQuan Lewis and Justin Tillman. Melvin Johnson started the game at the point guard position; an experiment that Coach Wade is still testing out from their last game at Madison Square Garden vs. Wisconsin.
HAVOC was an immediate factor against the Eagles. American had 22 turnovers on the night with five of those coming in the first two minutes of the game. The struggle continued on the defensive side as Ahmad Hamdy Mohamed lit a spark from the VCU bench with eight points and six rebounds.
Justin Tillman scored his 2nd collegiate double-double with a career high 14 rebounds and 10 points. Tillman could not be stopped inside the paint as he soared to the basket with ease for rebounds and a few thunderous jams to the delight of Ram fans in attendance.
“I’m happy that I got it but I think I can do that more down the line” said Tillman.
Siegel Center applauded many Rams for their performances versus American. Johnson still had the hot hand from downtown with 13 points while Billbury sliced and diced his way to the basket with 12 points and eight rebounds. Mo Alie-Cox surpassed Juvonte Reddic for 6th place on VCU’s all-time block record list with two more blocks added to his #MoSaysNo collection.
VCU collected 16 steals against a struggling American offense. The Rams had a few cold streaks offensively which seemed to fuel HAVOC as VCU looked great defensively against the Eagles. The Rams scored 22 points off turnovers and were bullies on the glass with 21 points off 2nd chance points.
Jesse Reed led American with 12 points against VCU. Shooting 50% from the field, Reed led the Eagles toward a comeback but the deficit was just too great. Paris Maragkos and James Washington added 11 points each.
From losing the ball to bad shooting, nothing worked as the Eagles hoped and VCU were able to soar away with the victory. Coach Wade knew that the game was going to be a challenge with American’s slow tempo but was proud with VCU’s performance.
“Thought it was a little bit of a disjointed game…proud of our guys. We played well. Thought our defense and rebounding was better” said Coach Wade.
Now with the focus turned to Old Dominion on Saturday, Billbury knows that VCU has to step it up against the Monarchs.
“Our energy was OK, our effort was OK but we have to be a lot better for Saturday’s game.” said Billbury.
Siegel Center will be the venue of the next chapter in the Old Dominion vs. VCU rivalry. Tip-Off set for Saturday, November 28th at 4:00 PM.
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