Friday evening on Broad Street was buzzing with Homecoming celebrations and VCU Men’s Basketball hosting Hampton University at the Siegel Center. The Rams took on their second consecutive opponent from the Big South conference with the Pirates setting sail for the Legends Classic. No treasure was found by the visitors with VCU defining their home territory successfully from the invading Pirates.
Let The Whistle Fly!
Kalin Fisher connected on the first bucket of the night for Hampton that was followed by Issac Vann responding with a VCU layup. The contest was a back and forth affair until HU’s Akim Mitchell was whistled for a technical foul. Mitchell scored a second chance bucket over VCU’s Sean Mobley and proceeded to talk some smack leading to the referee’s whistle.
Malik Crowfield made both free throws off the technical foul and VCU regained possession. Mobley knocked down his first bucket off the glass putting the Rams ahead 8-4 before the under-16 timeout.
Momentum was in VCU’s grasp after a 10-0 scoring run. Mike’l Simms started the trend with the first three-pointer for the Rams. PJ Byrd followed that on VCU’s next possession with his first three of his collegiate career. Marcus Santos-Silva took over with 4 quick points that included a tomahawk spike of a slam increasing the Rams’ lead to 18-8. Hampton burned a 30-second timeout while VCU was raising the roof of the Siegel Center to new heights.
A Setback & Tough Defending
Santos-Silva was on the bad side of the whistle receiving a technical foul for taunting. Jermaine Marrow only made one of the free throws and Hampton coughed up the possession following that sequence. Hampton went on a dry spell for nearly four minutes without a basket until Ben Stanely banked one home. VCU kept working the ball inside at held a 23-11 lead with under 8 minutes left in the 1sthalf.
Hampton could not get what they wanted versus the Rams’ defense. From man-on-man sequences to a zone defense, VCU made the Pirates’ shoot difficult shots and force 7 turnovers. Another Hampton basketless stint occurred for 6 minutes and the Pirates were held to 20% field goal shooting (8-of-40) for the half.
Not In This House!
VCU was relentless at the rim scoring 20 first-half points in the paint and grabbed 29 total rebounds. At the half, the Black & Gold took a 35-19 lead into the locker room.
Vann got the 2ndhalf started right for VCU with a steal turned into an And-1 layup. Santos-Silva continued his good shooting from the 1stafter cashing in his fifth bucket to stay perfect at 5-for-5. Hampton burned a timeout just under two minutes into the 2ndhalf to make adjustments.
More In The Reserve
Sean Mobley kept VCU’s tempo high on the offensive side of the ball. Mobley freed up Corey Douglas for an easy tap-in then followed that by scoring a three-pointer in front of an excited VCU’s bench.
Akim Mitchell knocked down a three to put the Pirates within 19 points. The struggle continued in the 2ndhalf against VCU’s defense. Vann and Evans laid down half-court traps to capture the Pirates and swing possession back to the Rams.
How About A 3rd?
Evans made a huge play after taking the charge inside against HU’s Greg Heckstall. Heckstall was irate and complained to the referee after the play. The official gave Heckstall a technical foul for his comments and Evans made both VCU free throws increasing the lead to 53-31. More offense came from #2 with a three-pointer to cap a 7-0 VCU scoring run.
This Wasn’t In The Script!
Hampton had a surprise for the Rams in the works. The Pirates caught the Rams sleeping after Jermaine Marrow collected a three-point play off the And-1. From that moment Hampton scored 14 consecutive points while VCU struggled for over 4 minutes without a bucket. Fisher gave the visitors more hope after Vann committed a shooting foul on a three-point attempt. All three of Fisher’s free throws went in and Hampton was trailing by only 7 points.
The Black & Gold drought was broken from downtown by Marcus Evans with 3:43 remaining. HU and VCU traded buckets and momentum late until Santos-Silva reestablished his paint dominance. Santos-Silva scored a team-high 16 points versus Hampton.
VCU is the Captain Now.
Friday night was a wrap for Fisher after picking up his 5thpersonal foul. Even with Jermaine Marrow scoring a team-high 25 points, Hampton fled away from Siegel Center in defeat. VCU improved to 2-0 overall with the 69-57 win.
Marcus Evans was the second Ram in double figures with 13 points off the VCU bench. Rams outscored the Pirates 36-16 in the paint and the VCU Bench put up 30 points. Hampton shot 29% from the field (18-of-62) and 17.6% from three (3-of-17).
Coming Up Next!
VCU returns to the Siegel Center for their next clash in the Legends Classic versus Bowling Green. That game is scheduled for a 7 PM start on Monday, November 12th and will be broadcast on MASN and ESPN+.