Score: VCU 70, Richmond 67
Records: VCU (24-9), Richmond (19-13)
Location: Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY
Short Story: VCU capitalized on a late rally to advance to the Atlantic 10 semifinals with a 70-67 win over Richmond Friday afternoon. Junior Melvin Johnson led the Rams with 23 points and sophomore JeQuan Lewis added 10.
How It Happened:
- Both teams exchanged points in the opening minutes until Richmond's TJ Cline hit back-to-back 3-pointers to take a 16-9 lead. A block from Mo Alie-Cox set Johnson up for a shot from long range to put the Rams within two, 16-14 with 9:27 left in the first half.
- The Rams took a 22-20 lead behind a Doug Brooks 3-pointer, but UR's ShawnDre' Jones' responded with a 3-pointer of his own. Jonathan Williams found Brooks again in the corner, putting the Rams back on top, 25-23 with 6:07 remaining in the stanza.
- The Spiders took a lead in the closing minutes of the first stanza, but Johnson drained another 3-pointer and Terry Larrier knocked down three shots from the charity stripe to give VCU a 37-36 advantage at the half.
- UR went on a 12-1 run in the first five minutes of the second half, allowing the Spiders to take an eight-point advantage, 48-40. VCU started to chip away at the deficit, as Alie-Cox's putback and Treveon Graham's pair from the line put the Rams within two, 50-48 with under 10 minutes to play.
- With 2:13 left, Lewis connected on two shots from the line, cutting Richmond's lead to one, 60-59. Brooks knocked down another shot from the distance to put VCU back in the lead until Cline hit the equalizer tying it up at 62.
- In the final minute, a 3-point play from Alie-Cox followed by a pair of free throws from Johnson gave the Rams a five-point advantage. UR wouldn't go quietly, but VCU secured the 70-67 victory to advance in the conference tournament.
Up Next: VCU will face top-seeded Davidson tomorrow (March 14) at 1:30 in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The game will be on CBS Sports.