Recap: VCU uses Colonial-crushing defense to win 12th straight

After three close games on the road, #14 Virginia Commonwealth University used Colonial-crushing defense to blow-out George Washington 72-48 Tuesday night in the Stuart C. Siegel Center.

After three close games on the road, #14 Virginia Commonwealth University used Colonial-crushing defense to blow-out George Washington 72-48 Tuesday night in the Stuart C. Siegel Center.


Patricio Garino busted out of the gates and hit his first three shots giving George Washington a 9-5 lead, but the Colonials’ offense evaporated. GW scored 5 points in the last 10:50 of the first half and VCU entered the locker room with a 29-21 lead.

GW’s Kethan Savage cut the Rams’ lead to four points on a 3-point play early in the second half, but VCU responded with suffocating defense. The Rams put together a 16-2 run to take a double-figure lead and during one stretch the Colonials missed 15 of 16 shots. The Colonials whiffed on their fair share of point-blank shots, but VCU trapped less than earlier in the season which improved their defense later in possessions and the Colonials consistently looked rushed.

Terry Larrier led VCU with 15 points. JeQuan Lewis added 13 points (4-6 2PFG, 1-5 3PFG), 2 assists, and 3 steals. Mo Alie-Cox added 10 points (4-4 2PFG), 8 rebounds, and an impressive steal that he dribbled into a dominating dunk.

The Rams are now 17-3 overall and 7-0 in the Atlantic 10. VCU has won 12 straight games – one short of Coach Smart’s longest winning streak.

Primed to Dominate

They were ready to come home and blow someone out and that was us tonight.Coach Lonergan

After requiring a heroic and one-legged performance from Treveon Graham to top Rhode Island 65-60, barely squeaking by Duquesne 70-64, and needing a Treveon Graham game-winner to top Saint Louis 63-61, VCU was primed to return home and beat anyone who entered the Siegel Center.

Fortunately that team was tied for second place in the Atlantic 10. VCU now has a two game lead on every team in the conference not named Dayton.

More importantly, VCU dominated on a night when Treveon Graham (1-2 2PFG, 1-4 3PFG), Melvin Johnson (4-6 2PFG, 0-4 3PFG), and Briante Weber (2-7 2PFG, 0-2 3PFG) combined for 21 points on 25 shots. VCU only shot 5-of-22 from 3-point range and had a bevy of miscues.

VCU’s depth put on a clinic as freshmen and sophomores did the heavy lifting on offense. The Rams also tallied 17 offensive rebounds including 4 from Mo Alie-Cox, 4 from Jordan Burgess, and 4 from Justin Tillman.

After the game, Mo Alie-Cox graded the game a C+ or a B-. While maybe slightly dramatic, the performance was still well below VCU’s potential. If Doug Brooks can return from his knee injury with his same spark, Melvin Johnson and Jordan Burgess can shake off their shooting slumps, and JeQuan Lewis and Terry Larrier can add consistency to their mature arsenals, then an “A performance” from VCU will be enough to top almost any team in college basketball.

Top performer: Terry Larrier

15 points (2-3 2PFG, 2-4 3PFG, 5-7 FT), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal

On a night when most of the starters struggled to get going on offense, Larrier was an invaluable spark off of the bench. He scored by getting to the rim, crashing the boards, and with a couple of smooth 3-pointers.

There may be some pressure to move him to the starting lineup moving forward, but he’s most valuable as a spark off of the bench alongside rapidly maturing offensive-guru JeQuan Lewis and Justin Tillman. Further development from the freshman will be a huge boon for the Rams as they try to hold on to 1st place in the Atlantic 10 and win a conference title.

5 stats

  • George Washington finished with more turnovers (16) than made shots and went 1-of-17 (.059) from 3-point range.
  • 17-3 is Coach Smart’s best start through 20 games and VCU’s best start since the Rams went 19-3 in 2007.
  • In the non-conference slate, VCU’s opponents shot 98-256 (.383) from 3-point range. In the A-10, VCU’s foes are 30-of-121 (.248).
  • Since missing the Fordham game with an ankle injury, Jordan Burgess is 0-of-8 from 2-point range and 5-of-17 from 3-point range.
  • Over his last four games, Melvin Johnson is 7-of-23 from 2-point range, 6-of-23 from 3-point range, and 3-of-8 on free-throws.

Looking forward

VCU hosts crosstown-rival Richmond on Saturday at 2:00 PM. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

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Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams loves music, basketball (follow @rvaramnews!), family, learning, and barbecue sauce.

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