LEWIS, RAMS OUTLAST MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE 80-77

Score: VCU 80, Middle Tennessee State 77
Location: Richmond, Va. (E.J. Wade Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center)
Records: VCU 8-3, MTSU 10-2
Attendance: 7,637 (88th consecutive sellout)

The short story: Senior JeQuan Lewis scored 12 of his 20 points in the second half, including a go-ahead jumper with 6:21 left as VCU held off Middle Tennessee State Saturday night at the E.J. Wade Arena.
 
OPENING TIP
  • Lewis, who battled foul trouble most of the night, made the most of his 21 minutes, knocking down 7-of-11 from the field and 3-of-4 from the line. He was also 3-of-7 from 3-point range, including a triple from the corner with 3:51 left that gave the Rams a four-point cushion.
  • Senior Mo Alie-Cox provided 15 points and three blocked shots. His block of Adonis Foote with 1:24 remaining preserved a 73-69 VCU advantage.
  • Senior Jordan Burgess corralled 11 rebounds, while redshirt freshman Samir Doughty came off the bench to supply VCU with 14 points and 4 assists.
  • MTSU's Giddy Potts led all scorers with 25 points, while JaCorey Williams turned in a 17-point, 14-rebound effort for the Blue Raiders.
  • The second-half featured 10 lead changes and two ties.
THE DIFFERENCE
  • VCU, which entered the game averaging 14.8 turnovers per game, coughed it up a season-low five times Saturday. The Rams outscored MTSU 14-6 off turnovers.
  • The Rams, who held a 38-37 halftime lead, went to work inside in the second half. VCU outscored the Blue Raiders in the paint 24-16 in the second half (and 40-26 for the game). VCU shot .652 (15-of-23) from the field in the second half, including .824 (14-of-17) on 2-point buckets.
  • Middle Tennessee State led by as many as five points in the second half, at 51-46 with 14:26 remaining following a Reggie Upshaw 3-pointer. But VCU answered with four straight buckets to retake the lead 54-51.
  • Upshaw gave the Blue Raiders the lead one final time, at 59-56 on a 3-pointer with 8:40 left, but VCU answered with a 9-2 burst, bookended by Doughty layups, for a 65-61 edge.
  • MTSU has one final chance to tie the game at the buzzer, but Potts' desperation heave clanged off the back of the rim.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
  • Lewis topped 20 points for the second straight game for the fourth time this season.
  • Alie-Cox has blocked at least three shots in five consecutive games.
  • Middle Tennessee State entered the game No. 7 nationally in RPI and riding a seven-game win streak.
  • VCU has now defeated MTSU in back-to-back years by a total of nine points.
WHAT'S NEXT
VCU will host Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. at the E.J. Wade Arena. 
RAMS BLAST HOWARD 85-51
December 27, 2016 RAMS BLAST HOWARD 85-51