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Nothing Easy, Charleston Edges VCU 83-79

VCU Men’s Basketball took on the College of Charleston in a war that was won at the free throw line inside the Siegel Center on Saturday.

Nothing Easy, Charleston Edges VCU 83-79

VCU Men’s Basketball started their 3 game homestand at the Siegel Center with a duel against College of Charleston. Charleston won their last 5 games and sat at 8-2 overall coming into the war with the Rams. Nothing was easy during the physical war on the court with a key battle at the free throw line being the deciding factor for the victor. 

HAVOC For The Holidays

Charleston felt the pressure after tip-off with 5 turnovers before the under-16 timeout. VCU got their offense going with Marcus Santos-Silva connecting on the opening layup and making two free throws. Grant Riller responded with the Cougars first bucket from mid-range.

HAVOC played a part to the Cougars turnover problem. Issac Vann came up with a steal on a halfcourt trap and found De’Riante Jenkins for the fastbreak jam. Vince Williams collected another Charleston turnover on a VCU full press and Riller sent the ball out of bounds on a passing miscue. College of Charleston went 1-of-5 on their first 5 shooting attempts of the game.

Putting In Work From The Reserve

Jarrell Brantley restarted Charleston offensively with a three point play from the free throw line after the VCU foul. Mike’l Simms went to work off the VCU bench with a pair of three pointers and Michael Gilmore banked in an additional triple. Riller kept Charleston within 5 points off a steal that turned into a one handed dunk for the Cougars.

Zep Jasper scored the Cougars first lead of the contest at 18-17 from downtown. Corey Douglas responded with a drive inside the paint and a bucket for his efforts. Marcus Evans caught Charleston looking on a drive to the hole then kick-out pass to Vann. The Vannimal knocked down the open three to put VCU up 22-20 just before the under 8 timeout.

Bad Time For A Cool-Down

Both teams cooled off a couple degrees on offense late in the 2ndhalf. VCU had a few offensive miscues while Charleston’s turnover problem continued. Santos-Silva rebounded and scored a 2ndchance bucket to get VCU going again once more. On the other end, Jarrell Brantley connected for two to keep the game within a bucket.

An 8-0 run for the Cougars had Charleston in prime position at halftime. Jasper scored a three from the corner to tie the game at 28-28 with 1:55 to go. VCU’s offense was silent for the last three minutes of the half without a bucket. Charleston moved the ball around and found Riller for a go-ahead three in front of VCU’s bench.

Things would get worse for the home team as Jasper stole the ball away from Malik Crowfield. Jasper would go 1-of-2 at the free throw line to put Charleston ahead 32-28 at halftime. Jarrell Brantley and Grant Riller scored 11 points each and Marcus Santos-Silva put up 10 on 4-of-5 shooting for VCU. 

Promise From VCU Amongst The 2nd Half

VCU brought out the Animal at the Siegel Center upon the beginning of the 2ndhalf. Vince Williams became VCU’s gamebreaker with a powerful layup through contact to get the crowd buzzing. After Jenkins connected on a three pointer, Williams pumped up the volume with an athletic one arm rebound. Williams was able to finish that through contact for the And-1 and gave VCU the lead.

Williams was not done as the VCU freshman made way to the rim for another And-1 opportunity. Nick Harris received his third personal foul and Williams scored a three point play from the line. VCU went 7-of-10 from the field to start the 2ndhalf.

A Haymaker From Charleston

Charleston got back into the mix off back to back VCU turnovers. The Cougars intercepted Simms pass and turned that into a layup for Jarrell Brantley. Following that was a turnover by Vann that had Charleston on the fast break once again. Brantley cleaned up the first attempt and banked in a 2ndchance layup to put Charleston up 50-46.

A 9-0 scoring run in addition to a scoreless 3 minutes for VCU had the Cougars up double-digits with a 59-49 advantage. Marcus Evans turned the game around with a steal that resulted in Vince Williams hitting another And-1 bucket. That led to Charleston’s Nick Harris picking up his fourth personal foul.

We Ain’t Done Yet!

The duo of Santos-Silva and Williams meshed well in the paint with Williams feeding Santos-Silva for the uncontested layup. Siegel Center roared in applause after Charleston burned a 30 second timeout with VCU trialing by 4.

Momentum swung back and forth between VCU and Charleston. De’Riante Jenkins took the momentum and the ball on a steal and jam combo. Riller brought Siegel Center back down to Earth on a heavily defended layup that fell for 2 to keep the Cougars out in front. With 5:50 left, Luke Harris fouled out of the game with his fifth personal foul.

Standing Out in Closing Time

Pointer and Riller kept the Cougars offense going with bucket after bucket. In front of a rambunctious VCU crowd, Pointer silenced them from downtown to take the lead back for Charleston. Riller kept hammering the Rams even through good defending and sunk an ice cold three ball in front of the VCU student section. A glare and smirk after the bucket from the Charleston junior guard that put his team up 73-65 with 3:53 left.

Vince Williams’ day was cut short after picking up his 5thpersonal foul with 1:18 left in the game on a rebound attempt after a missed free throw by Santos-Silva. The Rams fought against the Cougars and the clock in search of a lifeline. Issac Vann found that lifeline in the form of a shooting foul from three. Vann could not capture the opportunity from the line with only one made out of three.

The War Was Lost At The Line

Free throws were factor in VCU vs. Charleston. The charity strike saw 63 free throw attempts between the two teams. Charleston shot 76% and went 25-for-33. VCU was not having a good day with 19-of-30 from the free throw line.

The final buzzer sounded at the Siegel Center with the College of Charleston named the victors over VCU. An 83-79 win for the Cougars’ sixth consecutive victory added to their streak and improve to 9-2 overall. VCU fell to 7-4 overall.

Final Stats & Such

De’Riante Jenkins led VCU with 23 points against Charleston. Marcus Santos-Silva scored his second consecutive double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds. Vince Williams had 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals off the VCU bench. 

Grant Riller had 30 points for Charleston and went 10-of-14 from the field. Jarrell Brantley put up a double-double of 26 points and 17 rebounds. Brantley and Riller combined for 56 of Charleston’s 83 points. Zep Jasper had an additional 13 points against the Rams.

VCU outscored Charleston 42-28 in the paint and had a 22-10 scoring advantage off the bench. Charleston had 23 turnovers and VCU stole the ball 12 times.

Coming Up Next…

Coming up next for VCU Men’s Basketball is a battle with Wichita State at the Siegel Center. Tip-off will be at 4 PM on Saturday, November 22nd on ESPN2.

Mark graduated from VCU in 2014 with a major in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. He started as a fan of the Black & Gold in the stands his freshman year. Mark was known as "Kazie" for his charismatic fandom with the VCU's student organization the Rowdy Rams. While at VCU he gained experience in sports media with WVCW on a sports radio show called Rowdy Radio. Following graduation, Mark continued crafting his social media skills with the Richmond Kickers while also handling VCU coverage. He is a true fan of the Rams and vocally passionate on and off camera. After the final whistle, you can probably find him at local RVA bar or brewery enjoying a drink and conversation.

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