Recap: Sharp-shooting Rams down Hawks

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.

Win #150

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.

5 stats

  • 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.

Looking forward

VCU travels to Rhode Island on Tuesday at 7:30 PM. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

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Aaron Williams

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

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