Score: VCU 69, Gardner-Webb 57
Location: Richmond, Va. (E.J. Wade Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center)
Attendance: 7,637 (118th consecutive sellout)
The short story: Redshirt junior forward Issac Vann led the Rams with 16 points and eight rebounds as VCU defeated Gardner-Webb 69-57 in the 2018-19 season opener for both teams. VCU forced 21 Runnin' Bulldogs' turnovers and held Gardner-Webb to 38.5 percent shooting (20-of-52) from the field.
- Vann lead the way with 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting and added eight rebounds and four steals
- Junior guard Mike'L Simms supplied 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range in 23 minutes of action
- Redshirt junior guard Marcus Evans made his VCU debut and scored nine points and added two steals. Evans, who redshirted last season after transferring from Rice, has overcome two Achilles' surgeries since his last college game in 2017
- Gardner-Webb was led by freshman guard Jose Perez, who provided 16 points and five rebounds in 29 minutes.
- Seven Rams scored at least five points Tuesday
- The Runnin' Bulldogs made a game of it early, and led VCU 7-6 with 14 minutes remaining in the first half. But VCU would lead the rest of the way
- With VCU leading 18-16, Vann got the ball on a fast break and threw down a powerful dunk over a Gardner-Webb defender to ignite a 9-2 run that put the Rams up 27-18 with just over four minutes remaining in the half
- The Rams finished the half strong, after a 3-pointer by VCU sophomore guard Malik Crowfield with 2:30 left started another 9-2 run that pushed the VCU lead to a 38-22 going in to the break
- VCU started the second half aggressively after an and-1 layup by Vann with 17 minutes to play gave the Rams their largest lead of the game at 20
- After Gardner-Webb cut the score to 59-50 with just over eight minutes remaining in the game, VCU picked up the pressure once again to spark a 6-0 run to extend the lead back to 15
- The Rams shot 47.8% (11-of-23) from the field in the second half and led by as many as 20
- VCU turned 21 Gardner-Webb turnovers into 23 points, scored 28 points in the paint and owned a 10-4 advantage in fast break points
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- VCU totaled 10 steals and seven blocked shots in the game
- VCU owned a 42-32 edge on the glass
- The Rams held a 31-20 advantage in bench points
VCU will return to the court on Friday, Nov. 9 at the Siegel Center when the Rams host Hampton at 7 p.m. MASN will televise that contest.
COACH RHOADES POSTGAME