VCU COMEBACK BID FALLS SHORT IN ATLANTIC 10 TITLE GAME

Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament – Final
Score: #4 Rhode Island 70, #2 VCU 63
Location: Pittsburgh, Pa. (PPG Paints Arena)
Records: VCU 26-8, Rhode Island 24-9

The short story: Senior guard JeQuan Lewis fueled a second-half comeback with 15 points and junior forward Justin Tillman provided 10 points and 17 rebounds, but VCU could not overcome a big early deficit to Rhode Island in the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship Game Sunday in Pittsburgh.

OPENING TIP

  • Lewis was named to the All-Tournament Team for his efforts. He scored 13 of his points in the second half as VCU rallied back from what had been a 17-point first half deficit. VCU was able pull within three points with 1:20 remaining before big plays by E.C. Matthews preserved Rhode Island's advantage.
  • Tillman was also critical to the comeback effort. He produced eight points and 11 rebounds in the second half alone.
  • VCU outrebounded Rhode Island 47-36 and the two teams combined for only 11 turnovers. The Black and Gold grabbed 23 offensive rebounds.
  • Jared Terrell and EC Matthews combined for 39 points for Rhode Island and went 6-of-11 from 3-point range.
 

THE DIFFERENCE

  • Despite a 23-9 advantage in offensive rebounds, VCU was only able to produce 14 second-chance points.
  • Rhode Island opened the game by hitting 5-of-6 from 3-point range on the way to a 29-12 lead.
  • Rhode Island was .444 (24-of-54) from the field in the game, while VCU shot .313 (21-of-67). VCU struggled to finish in the first half and shot .237 (9-of-37) in the game's opening 20 minutes.
  • Rhode Island knocked down 8-of-20 three-pointers in the game. Rhody was also tough inside with seven blocked shots.
  • A floater by Tillman and four straight points by Lewis, including a coast-to-coast layup in traffic, pulled VCU back to within 64-61. But Matthews hit a contested lefty jumper with 55 seconds left and blocked a shot on VCU's ensuing possession to keep the Black and Gold at bay.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
  • Lewis averaged 15.3 points per game during the A-10 Tournament while shooting .405 from the field and dishing out 4.7 assists per contest.
  • Tillman posted his 11th double-double of the season and the 16th of his career.
  • VCU was making its seventh consecutive conference tournament championship game appearance.
NEXT UP
  • The Rams will await selection for an at-large bid to the 2017 NCAA Tournament. The Selection Sunday show will take place at 5:30 p.m. on CBS.