Xavier Defeats VCU, 65-54, Behind Strong Second Half

FINAL: Xavier 65, VCU 54 (Richmond, Va. – Verizon Wireless Arena)

VCU STARTERS: #3 Green, #5 Royster, #20 Alaeze, #23 Pellechio, #24 Parks

XAVIER STARTERS: #2 Gray, #3 Hawkes, #12 Pachko, #13 Wanninger, #15 Zantt

THE BASICS:

  • Junior forward Robyn Parks posted her second straight double-double with game-highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds, while freshman Jessica Pellechio chipped in 12 points, but VCU couldn't overcome a strong second half from Xavier and fell 65-54 Saturday afternoon at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
  • The Musketeers won their fourth straight game and fifth in their last six outings.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • VCU (10-17, 3-9 A-10) held Xavier scoreless through the first five minutes of the contest as the Rams jumped out to an early 6-0 lead.
  • Pellechio scored five straight points, including a 3-pointer from the left wing, to give VCU a 13-6 advantage with 11:50 showing.
  • Xavier (11-15, 5-7 A-10) cut its deficit to three less than a minute later before a quick 6-0 spurt pushed the Rams lead to 19-10 with nine minutes to play in the opening stanza.
  • Trailing 25-15 with 5:20 showing, the Musketeers scored 10 of the final 13 points of the half, including a jumper from Briana Glover with 1:11 to go, to pull within 28-25 at the break.
  • Xavier continued to chip away and took its first lead, 29-28, on a layup by Amber Gray less than a minute into the second half.  VCU answered with a 10-2 spurt spanning six minutes, and Parks pushed the Rams' lead to 38-31 with 13:01 to go.
  • The Musketeers didn't back down, however, and eventually took a 47-44 lead with 7:10 remaining.  After VCU went back ahead on a fast break layup from freshman Adaeze Alaeze with 4:56 showing, Xavier caught fire and closed the game on a 17-6 run.
  • Four straight points from Parks pulled the Rams within 57-54 with just over a minute to play, but Xavier hit 8-of-8 from the free throw line to seal the win.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:

  • Parks, who averages a league-leading 18.5 points against Atlantic 10 competition, posted her second straight double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds.  She had a 29-point, 20-rebound effort Wednesday at Richmond. 
  • Parks also registered career-highs with seven steals and five assists.
  • Pellechio, who finished with 12 points, scored in double figures for the fifth straight game.  The Annadale, N.J. native also collected four steals and dished out three assists.
  • VCU forced 20 turnovers for the ninth time this season.
  • The game featured two ties and nine lead changes.
  • Saturday's contest was the first-ever meeting between VCU and Xavier.

WHAT'S AHEAD: VCU travels to Charlotte on Feb. 28.  Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.  The Rams then close out the regular season at home against Rhode Island on March 3 (televised on CBS Sports Network at 2 p.m.).  Check VCUAthletics.com for complete game coverage.

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