December 1, 2013

RAMS BLITZ BELMONT IN SECOND HALF TO END NATION’S LONGEST HOME WINNING STREAK WITH 81-68 WIN

The Basics

  • Score: #24 VCU 81, Belmont 68
  • Records: VCU (6-2), Belmont (7-2)
  • Location: Curb Event Center – Nashville, Tenn.
  • The Short Story: HAVOC reigned supreme in the Music City as the VCU men's basketball blitzed a tough Belmont squad to end the nation's longest home winning streak in a 81-68 road victory. A 22-2 VCU run midway through the second half proved to be the difference. Senior Juvonte Reddic led four Rams in double-figures with 18 points and 11 rebounds. It was his third double-double in the past four games. Junior Treveon Graham and sophomore Melvin Johnson added 16 points each, while freshman JeQuan Lewis chipped in 12 points in his homecoming. VCU forced Belmont into a season-high 21 turnovers, while racking up 15 steals.

How It Happened

  • Belmont connected on its first three shots of the game, all 3-pointers to race out to an early 9-2 lead in the first 1:40 of the game. The Rams battled back closing within a point, 9-8, with 3-point plays from Rob Brandenberg and JeQuan Lewis.
  • The Bruins didn't cool down from the field and used a 14-3 run to increase their advantage out to 12, 23-11. In the first 8:05 of the game Belmont shot 80 percent from the floor (8-for-10).
  • From there VCU held Belmont scoreless from the field (0-for-4) for the next 4:20 to claw within six points of the lead, 23-17. The Rams continued the run out to 20-8 and leveled the game at 31-31 after three straight Treveon Graham free throws. In the stretch Treveon Graham (7) and Juvonte Reddic (6) combined for 13 points.
  • In the final 12:23 of the first half the Black and Gold outscored Belmont by 15 points, to take a 38-35 lead into the break. Graham finished the game's first 20 minutes with 12 points.
  • Belmont regained the edge early in the second half, outscoring the Rams 16-6 to take a 50-44 lead.
  • The Black & Gold returned the punch, netting back-to-back 3-pointers from Melvin Johnson and JeQuan Lewis to tie the game at 50-50. Johnson drained a corner three on the next possession after another Belmont turnover to give VCU the 53-50 lead.
  • The nine consecutive points from the Rams sparked a 22-2 run over the next six minutes to give VCU a 66-54 lead. During the span Johnson scored nine points, with three 3-pointers. The Rams forced four Belmont turnovers in the run.
  • VCU iced the game away from the line, converting 7-of-8 free throws over the final 1:52 of the game to close out the 81-68 win.
  • The Black and Gold shot 61.5 percent from the field in the second half on 16-of-26 shots. VCU also hit 50 percent of its threes in the second frame knocking down 4-of-8 3-pointers.

Quotables

  • "I thought it was a great game. I thought both teams really played well.  Belmont, obviously, made a ton of threes I've got a ton of respect for Coach Byrd. I just think he's a good as a coach as there is.  His system is such that they lose guys like the two guys they lost last year, Johnson and Clark, and they just keep rolling.  I thought our guys did a good job of responding to adversity. Belmont hit us with a great punch in the mouth early.  We got down 12 but kept battling and guys like Mel (Johnson) made some big plays." – Head Coach Shaka Smart
  • "I thought Belmont's home winning streak was obviously impressive. You don't do that without sustaining excellence and that's what Coach Byrd and his team have done here.  Their fans were great.  You know, they really got into it, especially early when they kept bombing those threes in.  Really thankful for our fans here.  We had so many fans that made the trip from Richmond.  It says a lot about just how fortunate we are.  We're not entitled to have that many fans on the road but we're certainly grateful for it.  We appreciate them coming. – Head Coach Shaka Smart
  • "We put emphasis on style of play.  In the second half, we just wanted to stay shot ready.  Our guards did a great job of getting in there and finding us.  We work on it every day in practice, getting there, looking for those guys and staying shot ready." – Sophomore Melvin Johnson
  • "First off, I appreciate VCU playing this game.  It's just hard.  It's just hard for us to get quality opponents.  They're an established program.  They didn't have to do it.  It created a tremendous atmosphere in here today.  I'm appreciative of the people that came out.  It's not usual for us to have a near capacity crowd and I thought the atmosphere was terrific.  Despite the loss, it was a pretty great day for Belmont Basketball in a lot of ways.  VCU I just a really, really good team, I think.  I think they wore us down.  Their press not only created 21 turnovers." – Belmont Head Coach Rick Byrd

Up Next

  • The Rams return home to take on the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on Thursday. Tip-off for that contest is slated for 7 p.m. and will air on Comcast SportsNet.

 

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