VCU Men’s Basketball continued their winning ways inside the Siegel Center against Winthrop. Tuesday night in RVA wasn’t the prettiest of games at the Stu but the result was great with Justin Tillman reaching a career milestone along with another Black & Gold victory.
Turnovers made an early appearance once Winthrop controlled the tip-off. VCU made two straight changes of possession that turned into 4 points for the Eagles on layups in transition. Xavier Jackson was able to put VCU on the board off of an alley from Jonathan Williams that hit the mark. Ball control was VCU’s demise before the first media timeout with the Rams racking up 5 turnovers in less than 4 minutes.
Justin Tillman kept VCU running on offense with a quick glide through the lane and De’Riante Jenkins flourished from downtown with a three-pointer. Winthrop started a cold run on offense with Eagles going over 4 minutes without a bucket. Tillman took advantage with a three-pointer that put VCU further ahead which pleased the home crowd.
This One’s Getting Ugly!
Xavier Cooks kept Winthrop close by scoring 6 of the Eagles’ 10 opening points. Ugly basketball was on the court with both teams struggling with the ball and the referee’s whistle working overtime on foul calls. Another cold streak of offense for Winthrop was taken advantage of by VCU with Tillman and Lane knocking down treys.
Things got worse for the Eagles as Cooks was whistled for his 2nd personal foul of the game with 9:04 remaining in the first half. VCU started to freeze for a few minutes without a field goal but that was short lived with a 6-0 scoring run that exploded their offense in less than 60 seconds.
Simms Lit Up The Stat-Sheet
The run got started after Mike’l Simms enter the contest and scored a layup. On Winthrop’s next possession, Tillman stole the ball away and was able to tip-in the ball after Malik Crowfield came up short. Siegel Center got even louder as Simms got a solo steal in transition then finished at the rim once again to put VCU up 24-16.
Ugly gameplay continued for Winthrop until halftime. The Eagles had a rough time downtown in the first half going 0-for-11 and finishing the half at 21% shooting from the field (6-of-28). Winthrop coughed up 11 turnovers and only managed 4 points off of VCU’s 10 turnovers.
While Tillmania ran wild with the first-half performance of 14 points and 6 rebounds, Mike’l Simms ignited with back to back three-pointers to end the half with 10 points from VCU’s bench. Half-time arrived with VCU heading into the locker room on an 8-0 scoring run while Winthrop was held without a bucket for the last 5:14; VCU led Winthrop 34-19.
Release The Threes!
VCU’s three-pointer was still in prime condition as the 2nd half got underway. Malik Crowfield got things going from downtown on the Rams’ first possession with a trey before the shot clock expired. After Tillman collected his second steal of the game, he fired a spiral to Jenkins at the spot for the 3 Ball knock down.
The Broman brothers ignited the Eagles by knocking down Winthrop’s first three attempts from range in the 2nd half. Bjorn Broman hit paydirt after the Eagles collected a defensive rebound and turned that into 3 points. Anders Broman would connect on the second followed by Bjorn on the third to cut the deficit to 8 points for the Eagles.
Cooks kept cooking for Winthrop’s offense with a pass from the top of the key to Jermaine Ukaegbu for the uncontested dunk. Tillman responded on the other end with a basket from close range in hopes of kick-starting VCU’s offense.
Tillman got the crowd screaming after scoring the basket that gave him 18 points and made him the 38th Ram in VCU history to reach 1,000 career points. The Fro was not done after taking Winthrop’s lunch money on a steal then dishing to Jenkins on the break to the basket.
Simms’ hot hand from three was still on fire after the man from Highland Springs drained his third three-pointer of the game. As the lead extended into double-digits once more, Winthrop struggled with the ball and Simms buried the Eagles furthered with three-pointer number four moments later.
Still Winning. Tilly Tilly!
Fans in the stands could see the green light from their seat with VCU improving to 50% from the three-point spot after Jenkins connected from there. Siegel Center was pleased more with Josh Ferguson being whistled for his 5th personal foul with 6:16 remaining in the game.
Cruise control was in session for the Rams with VCU pouring on the point and keeping the Eagles from flying out of their coop. Winthrop had one final flight in the closing minutes but the deficit was too great. VCU gets their 7th win of the season as the Rams defeat Winthrop 69-55 to improve to 7-5.
Justin Tillman finished his milestone night with his third double-double of the season as the Fro scored 22 points and collected 11 rebounds. Mike’l Simms erupted from the bench with 16 points and went 4-of-7 from three. De’Riante Jenkins was the third Ram in double figures with 13 points and 5 rebounds.
A rough night for Winthrop offensively on 12% shooting from three (3-of-25) and 34% from the field (20-of-59). VCU had 17 total turnovers compared to the Eagles 14. The Rams outrebounded Winthrop 45-39 and had 15 assists.
VCU Men’s Basketball returns to the Siegel Center on Friday, December 22nd to take on VMI in their final game before Atlantic 10 conference play begins. Tip-Off will be at 7 PM and broadcasted on CBS.