Two streaks were on the line for VCU Men’s Basketball upon tip-off Tuesday night at Siegel Center versus Saint Louis. VCU’s season-high 8 game win streak had the Rams rolling in addition to 7 consecutive victories over the Billikens. A physical game as advertised led to VCU taking charge of Saint Louis’ physicality towards coming out on top.
Scoring First, Defending Second
A 6-0 scoring run began for VCU after winning the tip-off. Marcus Santos-Silva scored the opening bucket just under 20 seconds into the game. Sean Mobley stepped back for two and Marcus Evans fed Santos-Silva a dime to the basket for the finish.
Even after a timeout, Saint Louis could not get going with a turnover by Hasahn French. Jordan Goodwin got SLU together by laying in their first basket of the night. Following that was 4 fastbreak points by Tramaine Isabell Jr to put the Billikens back on level terms.
Threes, Turnovers, & A Warning
SLU head coach Travis Ford was issued a coaching warning by the officials just before play resumed near the under-16 timeout. Evans would take over with a three pointer and alley-oop finish off of De’Riante Jenkins.
HAVOC matched Saint Louis’ physical play and constricted the Billikens from producing buckets. SLU had 5 turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game as the deficit grew. VCU kept moving the ball inside as Santos-Silva and company kept scoring.
The three ball came to life for VCU with the trifecta of Evans, Simms, and Vann. Evans and Vann sunk in solo treys to keep the offense rolling. Mike’l Simms came off the bench and put VCU in a double-digit lead from the corner three point spot.
Oh Baby A TRIPLE!!!
While both teams battled for control inside the paint, VCU clearly won the war from outside. Saint Louis went 0-for-4 in the first half from three and VCU made 7 three pointers. Leading the way was Marcus Evans scoring 15 points and shooting 3-of-5 from three.
Evans’ last three pointer sent Siegel Center into a frenzy just before halftime. The home crowd got even louder in celebration of De’Riante Jenkins denying Javon Bess on a last second dunk attempt. Saint Louis went the final 2 minutes of the half scoreless and trailed VCU 41-27.
Stuck In Neutral
VCU had a difficult start in the early stages of the 2nd half. Saint Louis could only muster 6 points during a 3 minute cold streak by the Rams. Vann got VCU restarted offensively with a steal turned fastbreak layup keeping the Rams well ahead of Saint Louis.
French put Saint Louis on his shoulders to lead the Billikens within single digits of the Black & Gold. Miscues and turnovers by VCU led to French scoring to give Saint Louis a fighting chance with under 10 minutes to go. Another scoreless run of basketball for VCU had Coach Rhoades looking for a spark on offense late.
French Goes Down, VCU Goes Up
Just as Saint Louis was in arms reach, French went down with an injury. French drove the lane and slammed a dunk against Marcus Santos-Silva. French was awarded the And-1 but could not take it after falling to the court and in need of medical attention. Goodwin stepped to the free throw line and made both attempts.
Goodwin made it a two point game with a three pointer for the Billikens. The duo of Evans and Vann gave VCU a second wind on back to back layups. Crowfield had a successful trip at the free throw line as VCU increased their lead back up to 7 points on a 6-0 swing.
Foul trouble catched up with the Billikens with Goodwin, Foreman, and French playing with four fouls. D.J. Foreman committed a charge with just over 4 minutes to play for his 5th personal foul. HAVOC continued causing a ruckus with SLU turnovers and Evans put VCU back up 11 with a jumper to cap off the 7-0 scoring run.
Evans Takes Charge (Literally.)
Marcus Evans came up big defensively after a mistake led to a
“Not going to lie those charges hurt. They’re some big boys but we needed them.”–VCU Redshirt Junior Guard, Marcus Evans
The Final Act Technically
The contest reached the boiling point with 2 seconds remaining. VCU held a 69-65 lead and manage to move the ball towards the basket through SLU’s defensive pressure. De’Riante Jenkins saw the open lane and took
Jenkins was fouled by Fred Thatch on the dunk attempt and was charged a Flagrant 1 foul. Officials also gave SLU’s Javon Bess and VCU’s Issac Vann double technical fouls that offset. Jenkins went 2-for-2 from the free throw line to seal the deal for VCU.
“That was a grind today. Really proud of our guys…it was a physical game. We needed that.”–VCU Head Coach, Mike Rhoades
A Physical Win is a WIN!
Both winning streaks remained intact with the 71-65 Black & Gold victory over the Billikens. VCU improves to 13-2 in the Atlantic 10 on a season-high 9 game win streak. This victory was the Rams’ 8th consecutive victory over Saint Louis dating back to 2014.
Marcus Evans played 31 minutes and finished as the top Ram with 20 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Issac Vann had 16 points and 4 rebounds. VCU’s bench outscored Saint Louis 15-1. HAVOC turned 19 turnovers by the Billikens into 22 points. Saint Louis never had the lead on Tuesday night at the Siegel Center.
Rivalry Day Up Next!
VCU heads to the Robins Center for the second game of the Crosstown Showdown against Richmond on Saturday, March 2nd. Tip-off begins at 4 PM on CBS Sports Network.