Behind 32 Points from Freshmen, VCU Routs Belmont 78-51

The Basics

How It Happened

  • Coming into tonight's game, Belmont ranked sixth in the nation with 10.7 3-pointers made per game. VCU held the Bruins to just 8-29 from beyond the arc tonight, and did an excellent job closing out on defense to limit their effectiveness from long range.
  • VCU jumped out to a quick 14-5 lead, and it was obvious from the opening tip that Belmont was going to have a tough time finding open shots and playing to their 3-point shooting strength.
  • Perhaps the highlight of the first half was the first of Tillman's two highlight reel dunks. Freshman Jonathan Williams led a fast break and weaved a perfect pass to Tillman, who threw down a monster dunk and put the crowd on its feet.
  • The Rams' lead reached a high of 19 in the first half, and settled at 13 when they entered halftime with a 34-21 advantage. The Bruins, proficient long-range shooters that they are, made just three of 13 attempts from beyond the arc in the first half.
  • Led by Tillman, VCU came out for the second half firing on all cylinders, starting out with a 16-5 lead that extended the Rams' advantage to 24, 50-26. The exclamation mark from the scoring run came from Tillman again. After a Belmont turnover, senior Briante Weber charged up court and dished a no-look pass behind him to Tillman, whose one-handed slam caused the loudest fan reaction of the night.
  • With the way VCU was shutting down Belmont's strength, not to mention shooting the ball pretty well in its own right, the Rams' lead just continued to grow, and when the horn sounded VCU ended up with 78-51 victory.

Beyond The Box Score

  • Three Rams set career highs in points in tonight's game: Tillman, freshman Michael Gilmore, and sophomore Torey Burston. Williams recorded seven assists, which was marked a career high for him in that category.
  • With tonight's win VCU improves to 40-6 in the month of December under head coach Shaka Smart.
  • It was a terrific night for VCU's bench; the Rams got 56 points tonight from their reserves, the second time this season that they have gotten 50-plus points from their bench (in the blowout win over UMES earlier in the season they got 64 from their bench).

Up Next

  • The Rams travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats this Saturday, December 20 for a 2 PM tip-off on ESPNU. They'll round out this calendar year with two home matchups: one against East Tennessee State on Monday, December 22 and one on Monday, December 29 against Cleveland State. Both games will begin at 7 PM.