VCU was elite from 3-point range as they took down Saint Joseph’s and moved to 3-0 in Atlantic 10 play.
#20 Virginia Commonwealth University rolled to its eighth straight victory with an 89-74 win over Saint Joseph’s on Saturday afternoon.
The Rams exploded out of the gates and hit three straight 3-pointers to take a 9-0 lead. VCU would go on to hit 12-of-23 3-pointers. The offensive punch was essential as the Rams fouled 26 times while allowing Saint Joseph’s to shoot 50% from 2-point range and 45.5% from 3-point range.
At times, VCU’s defense was ineffective against the Hawks’ typically paltry offense. Reigning Co-Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year DeAndre Bembry repetitively used his athleticism to score en route to 16 points, and Saint Joseph’s went 5-of-11 from 3-point range despite entering the game shooting 26.1% from beyond the arc.
The offense was very efficient and the defense a little lackluster, but the bottom line is VCU (3-0) is already one of only three teams in the A-10 without a conference loss. Rhode Island (3-0) and Dayton (2-0) round out the group.
Treveon Graham, Melvin Johnson, and Briante Weber combined for 50 points. Terry Larrier, who is rapidly expanding his game beyond corner 3-pointers, scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds. Justin Tillman finished with nine points and five rebounds. Mo Alie-Cox blocked three shots, making it seven blocks in the past two games.
Saturday was Coach Smart’s 150th career win. Despite the milestone, he didn’t have much to say other than it means he’s coached a lot of games. Here’s a list of coaches he has a great opportunity to pass this season.
Total wins in first six seasons of head coaching career
- 1. Brad Stevens (Butler, 2008-12) | 166-49
- 2. Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh, 2004-09) | 163-45
- 3. Everett Case (NC State, 1947-52) | 161-39
- 4. Mark Few (Gonzaga, 2000-05) | 159-37
- 4. Dave Rose (BYU, 2006-11) | 159-45
- 4. Roy Williams (Kansas, 1989-94) | 159-45
- 7. Shaka Smart (VCU 2009-Present) | 150-49
Top performer(s): Treveon Graham and Melvin Johnson
39 points (4-7 2PFG, 10-13 3PFG), 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
Graham and Johnson combined for an 8-of-24 performance against Davidson on Wednesday. Saturday, they were lights out from range. Treveon Graham finished with 19 points (3-6 2PFG, 4-6 3PFG) and seven rebounds, and Melvin Johnson added 20 points (1-1 2PFG, 6-of-7 3PFG).
He’s a work-ethic warrior.Coach Smart on Melvin Johnson
Melvin Johnson entered Saturday a combined 4-of-20 from 3-point range over the last three games. He found his touch midway through the first half and never looked back. In one stretch, he hit a shot well beyond 3-point range, Mo Alie-Cox delivered a destructive block, and then Johnson hit a zero-hesitation transition 3-point in a one-on-three situation. If Melvin Johnson had been in a slump, it is now over and then some.
- Graham, Weber, and Johnson combined to go 10-of-30 against Davidson with a 40.0 eFG%. They combined to go 18-of-28 with an eFG% of 82.1 against Saint Joseph’s.
- Treveon Graham shot 136-of-397 (.343) from 3-point range his first three seasons. He’s 37-of-82 (.451) this season.
- Record watch: Through 16 games, Briante Weber has already posted the 10th best steals season in VCU history. He’s posted three of the top nine seasons.
- JeQuan Lewis finished with five assists and one turnover in 18 minutes.
- The Hawks have now lost four straight, their longest streak since losing nine straight during the 2010-11 season.
VCU travels to Rhode Island on Tuesday at 7:30 PM. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.
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