VCU Men’s Basketball strolled into the Siegel Center with confidence going up against Massachusetts on Saturday. The Rams defeated Dayton in a thrilling contest and prepared to double-down against the Minutemen in their second consecutive A-10 game at home.
UMass lost their last 5 games and were still in search of their first conference victory of the season. Both teams battled the whistle and each other in a test of A-10 will. Coach Rhoades told his VCU team to #WinAnyway and the Rams did just that on Saturday.
Pure Vannimal & Company
After a scoreless opening two minutes, Marcus Evans scored off an And-1 layup off the assist by Marcus Santos-Silva. Carl Pierre caught Evans late on the foul as Evans created a 3-0 VCU lead after the free throw.
Issac Vann was put on a poster on VCU’s next possession. Evans sent the ball to Vann on the breakaway for And-1 dunk that sent Siegel Center berserk. Kieran Hayward went for the block and collided with Vann for the shooting foul. Vann was slow to get up after the contact but made the free throw before being subbed out of the game.
Visitors Get Creative
The offense of UMass was able to get going making their next 4 shot attempts. Curtis Cobb and Carl Pierre led the Minutemen back into the contest at 11-11. VCU was having turnover difficulty early as UMass was implementing enough pressure to cough the ball loose. The Rams countered by moving the ball closer to the rim while causing HAVOC of their own on defense.
Cobb and Vann continue trading buckets throughout the 1st half. Santos-Silva headed back to the VCU bench after being whistled for his 2nd personal foul with over 8 minutes to play. Silva’s assignment in UMass’ Rashaan Holloway also made way to the bench after picking up his 2nd foul.
A New Challenge Appears
27 first half total fouls were called between VCU (12) and UMass (15). With 4:30 left, Vince Williams was initially whistled for an intentional foul that turned into a personal foul upon further review. Jenkins was able to breakthrough the whistled with a 6-0 VCU run by himself off back to back three pointers.
Luwane Pipkins knocked down UMass last two free throws that put the Minutemen within 2 points. Byrd got the best of Pipkins on a three pointer attempt that led to a shooting foul on Pipkins. Byrd went 2-of-3 from the free throw line to give VCU a 32-28 lead at halftime.
From The Locker Room…GOOD!
VCU started the 2nd half on a 7-0 scoring run out of the locker room. Vann hit a baseline floater that was followed by Jenkins’ third three pointer of the game. Santos-Silva got inside for a bank of the glass to put the Rams up 39-31.
Double technical fouls was issued to VCU’s Sean Mobley and UMass Samaba Diallo after a war of words in the middle of transition at the 17:33 mark. Vann continued rushing the basket and found success with another And-1 opportunity keeping the Rams ahead.
That Defense Tho?
Luwane Pipkins had a rough night against HAVOC going 2-of-10 from the field on his first 10 attempts. The leader of the Minutemen was VCU’s focus on defense to not make things easy on him. UMass did contribution elsewhere from Cobb and McClean while working on getting Pipkins better looks.
Marcus Evans was doing his part on VCU’s behalf to get his teammates good shots behind his 6 assists. Evans was able to find Santos-Silva and Vann on drives to the basket and fed Jenkins awaiting outside at three point land.
HAVOC limited UMass to 28% shooting from the field in the 2nd half and 1-of-12 behind the three. VCU scored 15 points off of UMass’ 19 turnovers on the night. Foul trouble and VCU’s depth proved to be too much for Massachusetts on Saturday at the Siegel Center.
A Good A-10 Week
With De’Riante Jenkins leading with 17 points, VCU went 2-for-2 at the Siegel Center with the 68-50 win over UMass. The Rams improved to 4-1 in A-10 play and 13-5 overall. Jenkins had another perfect night from three going 4-of-4 from the spot.
Issac Vann bounced back on the scoresheet with 16 and 5 rebounds as the second Ram in double-digits. Marcus Evans led VCU with 6 assists in addition to his 8 points and 4 rebounds. VCU went 45% from the field and 6-of-13 from three against the Minutemen. 50 fouls were called during the contest; VCU had 21 compared to UMass’ 29.
Coming Up Next!
Next week is a road trip for VCU Men’s Basketball as Rams vs. Rams collide at Rhode Island. That clash starts at 7:30 PM on Wednesday, January 23rd.