Saturday night hoops inside the Siegel Center was just what VCU Men’s Basketball needed to turn their misfortunes around. The Rams took on Iona with the Gaels in the middle of a three-game road trip. Iona wasn’t even close and suffered a third consecutively road defeat against a team of Rams on their game Saturday night and then some.
Off To The Races
VCU got settled in just as the first half got underway. The Rams went to work on the Gaels with an opening 9-0 scoring run. Corey Douglas started things with a three-ball followed by Issac Vann running coast to coast on the VCU layup. Marcus Santos-Silva grabbed an offensive board and 2ndchance bucket. Douglas slammed the run home into an Iona timeout with an impactful dunk off the steal from De’Riante Jenkins.
Things got worse for Iona seconds after the game restarted. Jenkins came up with the ball on his second steal and fed the ball to Santos-Silva. The VCU big man made it an 11-0 run from the paint and Siegel Center erupted in celebration. Tajuan Agee gave the Gaels something to work with via Iona’s first bucket from downtown.
Nooo…They Wasn’t Ready!
Iona was in need of a reset with a 14% field goal percentage and VCU going 5-of-10 on their first 10 shooting attempts. E.J. Crawford got to work going 2-for-2 on offense for the Gaels. Turnovers were still a concern for the visitors while Mike’l Simms and Michael Gilmore gave VCU support from the reserves. A three-pointer from Simms and a swat from Gilmore had VCU well ahead on the scoreboard.
Another scoring run by the Rams forced Iona to burn another 30-second timeout. Simms connected on his second three-pointer as a 12-0 run began for VCU. During that span, the threes were flying from Malik Crowfield and De’Riante Jenkins. Iona was on a cold span for nearly 2:30 and trailed 30-11 with 7:38 left in the first half.
Let It Fly
Once Marcus Santos-Silva found his shoe, VCU kept hammering offensively. Evans and Jenkins continued the Rams hot shooting from behind the three-point line. Vince Williams made an impact of the VCU bench by taking an Agee elbow to the chin that was whistled for an offensive foul on Iona. Williams would make his way to the basket on VCU’s next possession and tap the ball in on a layup.
In a span of 7 minutes, the Rams outscored the Gaels 20-5. Crawford kept grinding for Iona with 10 first-half points against VCU. Mike’l Simms had himself a first half with 14 minutes off the bench and 11 points including a trifecta of three-pointers. Iona committed 14 turnovers to VCU’s 4 and the Rams scored 16 points off those Iona turnovers. 46-27 at halftime in the Siegel Center with VCU and Ram fans feeling good after a productive 20 minutes.
A Lukewarm Second Serving
The second half started with VCU shooting 1-for-5 from the field. VCU was working against the zone of Iona to no avail but kept the Gaels grounded on defense. Iona’s turnover problem was still a concern with 3 turnovers in the opening 5 minutes.
Issac Vann broke through Iona’s defense with a drive to the basket and a layup. Douglas and Santos-Silva kept VCU’s presence in the paint with rebounds and second-chance points. Vann kept the pressure on with a swipe and one arm throwdown above the rim putting VCU up 58-32.
More Out Of The Reserves
Tajuan Agee and Rickey McGill gave Iona something to work on offense. Agee rushed the rim through contact for a basket. McGill created a three-point play the hard way to bring the deficit down to 20 points. VCU responded with Williams dishing to Gilmore on an alley-oop that slammed the door on the Gaels.
Michael Gilmore added another slam to his collection with both hands before Iona called a 30-second timeout. The Gaels were on a cold streak for 2:24 while VCU was working on a second wind on offense.
Head Coach Mike Rhoades got a major boost from his VCU bench. KeShawn Curry entered the fray and assisted Santos-Silva on an And-1 bucket under the basket. Curry added an uncontested three-pointer to his stats and put VCU ahead by 30. VCU’s bench put up 33 points and outscored Iona’s bench 33-11.
By Unanimous Decision
Jahnathan Maxwell received a gift when he connected on a three-pointer through contact from VCU’s Vince Williams. The four-point play was not enough for Iona in hopes of a comeback for the ages. VCU outscored Iona once again in the 2ndhalf 42-32 to cruise to the 88-59 win at the Siegel Center.
Stats & The Next Challenger
Four Rams finished in double-digits against Iona. Marcus Evans had 19 points and 6 rebounds in 35 minutes of action. Marcus Santos-Silva was a rebound shy of a double-double with 12 points and 9 rebounds. Corey Douglas and Mike’l Simms put up 11 points each.
Leading the Gaels as E.J. Crawford and Rickey McGill scoring 16 points each against the Rams. Iona had 23 turnovers and VCU scored 27 points off those turnovers. VCU went 42% from the field and 36% behind the three point line. With that win, VCU improves to 6-2 overall.
VCU Men’s Basketball returns to action on Wednesday, December 5th against former VCU head coach Shaka Smart at Texas. The Longhorns and Rams go to war at 8 PM on ESPNU.