Saturday afternoon at the Siegel Center may have melted some snow on Broad Street. VCU and UMass collided in an intense Atlantic 10 match-up that provided the heat, the physicality and another win to VCU’s 7 game winning streak.
Stuck In The Snow
VCU and UMass was a bit sluggish at the start. The Rams aimed to get their paint game established early but the Minutemen had other ideas. A few turnovers were traded back and forth until Luwane Pipkins got the scoring started for UMass from downtown.
The Rams answered back quickly with a corner three ball from Jordan Burgess. Following that Ahmed Hamdy and Justin Tillman got things going from under the rim to steal back the early lead just before the media timeout.
VCU Brings The Heat
As the game continued, things cooled off and not because of the snow. VCU went scoreless for nearly three minutes while UMass started to hit an offensive groove. After VCU went 0-for-5 from the field, Jonathan Williams turned into Air Johnny as he drove to the basket for buckets.
Joining Williams was Justin Tillman at the rim causing a ruckus. The Fro used his long length and power to keep the Minutemen away while scoring easy baskets. HAVOC added to UMass’ frustration with defensive pressure and was rewarded with 9 turnovers and 5 steals in the 1st half.
An A-10 Fist-Fight
Near the end of the first half, intensity arose on and off the court. Ram fans expressed their disagreement with the referees on some of the officiating as the game got physical. The Animal came alive as Doug Brooks erupted off the bench with 10 first half points. Mo Alie-Cox and Tillman held down the glass as VCU outrebounded UMass 23-16.
The Minutemen were able to get the last laugh thanks to DeJon Jarreau connecting on a layup just before the half-time buzzer; UMass trailed the Rams 33-29 at half-time.
Another Round of Black & Gold
In the 2nd half of action, both teams amped up the physicality under the rim. Inside the paint could have been a boxing ring as VCU and UMass constantly battled for possession. Things got heated for UMass as Rashaan Holloway was whistled for his third personal foul with 16:38 left.
After a scoreless first half, JeQuan Lewis made his presence known in the second. Lewis put himself on the scoreboard with a 3 Ball followed by and And-1 finish under the basket increasing VCU’s lead. Mo Alie-Cox added in an extra steal & slam flush as the Rams got on an early 2nd half roll.
More Rams joined in for a 2nd half offensive explosion. Doug Brooks continued hitting from downtown while Samir Doughty and Tillman handled business at the rim. VCU had the paint on lockdown with full control of the rebounding matchup and 2nd chance buckets.
MinuteMen Stuck On Ice
UMass found themselves in a deeper hole as Holloway picked up his fourth personal foul with 9:53 reaming in the game. The Minutemen looked to C.J. Anderson to handle the workload on offense however HAVOC kept UMass grounded once again with pressure, steals and turnovers.
Holloway got his second career double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Anderson added 12 points off the UMass bench. HAVOC did a good job keeping the Minutemen shooting 39% from the field and 22% from the three point spot.
Four Rams in Double Figures
JeQuan Lewis had a great second half to lead VCU with 17 points on the day along with 6 assists. Doug Brooks did well from the bench with 14 points, 5 rebounds and a pair of steals. Jonathan Williams added 12 points and Justin Tillman collected a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. A fun time for the Black & Gold as the Rams could not be stopped at the Siegel Center.
Even with the snow and UMass in front of them, VCU stepped up and collected their seventh consecutive win. The Black & Gold celebrated with an 81-64 victory over the Minutemen to improve to 3-0 in Atlantic 10 play and 13-3 overall.
Next up for VCU Men’s Basketball is George Washington on Wednesday, January 11th at the Siegel Center. Tip-off set for 6 PM on ESPN 2.