BALANCED RAMS TAKE DOWN SAINT JOSEPH'S, 82-79

The Basics

  • Score: VCU 82, Saint Joseph's 79
  • Records: VCU (25-7), Saint Joseph's (18-13)
  • Location:  The Barclays Center - Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • The Short Story: Sophomore Treveon Graham led five Rams in double-figures with 17 points to lead VCU to a 82-79 win over Saint Joseph's in the Atlantic 10 Quarterfinals. VCU forced the Hawks into 17 turnovers, leading to 12 steals, five of which belonged to sophomore Briante Weber. Weber set a new single-season steals mark with that performance (91). Senior Troy Daniels scored all 14 of his points in the second half to help the Rams build a 17-point lead at one point.

How It Happened

  • HAVOC was in full force from the start with three Saint Joe's turnovers in the first 2:39, which helped VCU climb out to an early 8-3 advantage.
  • 15 trips to the free-throw line helps Saint Joe's stay within striking distance with Carl Jones pouring in eight first-half points as VCU held a 24-21 lead with five minutes left in the stanza.
  • That's when a floater from Melvin Johnson ignited a 9-2 VCU run to close the half, capped off by a beautiful drive and finish by Darius Theus for a 33-23 lead at the break.
  • SJU would knock down three 3-pointers in the first 3:02 of the second half to get within three, but three straight treys from three different Rams quickly built the VCU lead back to 10 with 14:16 remaining.
  • Four second-half 3-pointers by Daniels and a three from freshman Justin Tuoyo helped the Black & Gold extend its lead to as much as 17, 64-47, with 8:11 left on the clock.
  • The lead remained in double-figures until the final 1:33 when Jones and Galloway did their best to keep the Hawks in the game, but junior Juvonte Reddic went 5-of-6 from the charity stripe in the final minute to help VCU secure the 82-79 victory.

Beyond the Boxscore

  • With four more 3-pointers, Daniels moved into sole possession of fifth-place on the A-10 single season chart. He's now seven away from Jimmy Baron's mark of 118. The single-season record is held by Saint Joe's Pat Carroll (135).
  • Five steals by Weber set a new single-season mark of 91. He broke Rolando Lamb's record of 88, set in 1985.
  • With 12 steals on the night, VCU set a new single-season program record with 382. The new mark breaks the record set by last year's squad of 381.
  • Daniels and fellow seniors Darius Theus and David Hinton became the winningest class in VCU history with 109 victories during their careers.
  • VCU is now 25-0 when forcing 15 or more turnovers.

Quotable:

Head Coach Shaka Smart:

  • "It's a hard-fought game.  St. Joe's, give them lot of credit.  They really battled in the second half. They came at us, shot the ball extremely well, made threes.  We obviously could have played better defense in the second half.  That's what won us the game was the first half defense, which gave us a ten-point lead going into halftime. We shot 50 percent, but we did miss a lot of easy shots, open looks.  We'll make those as we go.  It's good to survive and advance."
  • "I was happy with the guys.  I mean, we talk about having great spirit on our team, and that's where we're at, we have spirit.  I think the teams that win this time of year are able to respond when things don't go their way. You know, what really helped us with that was our crowd.  There was a phenomenal group of fans from VCU that traveled up here from New York.  And I haven't had an official count, but it looked like we had as many or more than anyone else, and that just says a lot about our fans.  That helped tonight, because like you said, there were some things that went bad, and we stayed tough."
 Senior Troy Daniels:
  • "The young guys, we stepped up.  Once the older guys, talking about guys, they came in the game and gave us a big push.  We needed that.  We're going into March.  We need that, for the younger guys to step up, and they did."
  • "Just went out there playing loose.  We have to play our basketball, and we just attack the ball. Coach gave us the green light, and we made the shots, and he didn't have a problem with it."
 Freshman Melvin Johnson:
  • "I just tried to come in and do whatever a team needs.  I didn't want to try to do too much extra to impress anybody in the crowd.  But Coach give me a green light.  I felt as though I had some great coaches.  He ran my play a few times, and I just made some plays."
Up Next
  • VCU heads to the Atlantic 10 semifinals to take on sixth-seeded UMass. Tip time is set for 4 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
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