Sunday Funday found a proper venue in the Siegel Center with VCU Men’s Basketball taking on Rider University in the Rams’ final non-conference game. The Rams came into the game with momentum after beating Wichita State and aimed for a similar result versus the Broncs. A spark from downtown initiated a firework spectacle from the Rams to end 2018 in glowing fashion.
HAVOC Before Offense
Rider felt HAVOC at the Siegel Center after the opening tip-off. Kimar Williams made some HAVOC of his own off a Marcus Evans turnover turned into Rider’s first layup. From there VCU turned on the defense and caused 4 Rider turnovers and 3 VCU steals in the opening 4 minutes.
Issac Vann went full Vannimal scoring 8 points in those 4 minutes. Vann went a perfect 4-for-4 from the field including a solo steal then breakaway dunk combo. Rider burned a 30 second timeout to adjust while trailing 15-6 on the road.
Sharing The Love
VCU’s shooting was of high quality at 11-of-17 from the field before the under-12 timeout. The Rams moved the ball around in search of the best available shot against Rider. Multiple Rams found their shot and was hitting consecutively to the delight of Ram fans.
“You can’t win big games if you become selfish. You gotta make sure it’s all about the team.”-VCU Head Coach Mike Rhoades
Another delight at the Siegel Center was a Black & Gold 7-0 scoring run. Marcus Santos-Silva got his game going with 4 quick points inside the paint. De’Riante Jenkins connected on his second three pointer of the game to make it 32-17 VCU and forcing Rider to call another timeout.
A Wounded Vannimal
With 6:37 left in the half, Issac Vann went down on the floor with a leg injury after a bad landing. Vann fell to the floor after Corey Douglas scored for VCU in agony. The VCU redshirt junior was able to walk gingerly to the locker room area.
Back Up & Running!
Mike’l Simms reignited VCU’s offense with 5 quick points after the injury timeout. Jenkins found Simms at the three-point spot for the knockdown then followed that with a mid-range jumper putting VCU up 20.
Vann brought more joy to the Stu returning to the action just before halftime. Rider played spoiler with a 6-0 run to end the half including a last second layup by Kimar Williams. VCU finished the first half at 63% from the field and 9 Rams scoring a bucket. De’Riante Jenkins was the top scorer for the Rams with 9 points including two three pointers. VCU led Rider 49-33 at half.
Treys For Everyone!
Marcus Evans kept VCU’s foot on the gas with back to back three pointers to start the 2nd half. Coach Baggett used a 30 second timeout as a reset for Rider and it worked with 5 quick points. Corey Douglas managed a VCU adjustment for an And-1 bucket through contact on the other end.
The Rams kept knocking down buckets and increasing their lead. Vince Williams sent a dime to Jenkins on the run to a powerful two handed slam. Following that was a three point barrage from Vann, Simms and Crowfield connecting behind the arc. Malik Crowfield was not done from long range as the VCU junior connected on back to back threes.
An Army Of Many
Rider could not take advantage of a three minute scoring drought for VCU. Kimar Williams and Frederick Scott kept gunning the Broncs offense against all odds. Rider was shooting near 52% at one point in the 2nd half but still trailed heavily against VCU and the clock.
More production came out of Coach Rhoades’ reserves on the scoreboard. Simms knocked down his third three pointer and ended the game leading VCU with 15 points. Crowfield scored 12 points in 13 minutes that included four threes. KeShawn Curry and Sean Mobley kept letting the ball fly as VCU kept the Broncs buried with bucket after bucket.
Adios Non-Conference Slate
Rider managed to click on a 6-0 run to end the game on a high note. The Broncs had 4 players finish with 12 point each and shot 51% from the field in the 2nd half. VCU finished their non-conference slate at 9-4 overall with a 90-79 win over Rider University.
“We can play with anybody in the country. I think that’s going to be big for us.”-Marcus Evans, VCU Redshirt Junior Guard
Five Rams finished the game in double figures. Mike’l Simms had 15 off VCU bench and shot 5-of-7 from the field. Marcus Evans scored 14 and De’Riante Jenkins finished with 13 points. Malike Crowfield provide 12 and Issac Vann rounded up with 11. VCU’s bench had 38 points against Rider.
Swimming To The Atlantic
VCU Men’s Basketball ring in 2019 with the beginning of Atlantic 10 conference play. The Rams head to Fordham for their A-10 opening game on Saturday, January 5th. Tip-off at 2 PM on CBS 6.1 and ESPN+.