TILLMAN IGNITES RAMS TO HIGH-OCTANE WIN, 2-0 START

Score: VCU 95, North Florida 85
Location: Richmond, Va. (E.J. Wade Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center)
Records: VCU 2-0, North Florida 0-3
Attendance: 7,637 (101st consecutive sellout)

The short story: Senior forward Justin Tillman dropped a career-high-tying 27 points as VCU withstood sharp-shooting North Florida Monday night to improve to 2-0.

OPENING TIP 

  • Tillman was too much for the North Florida's undersized front line. He scored 12 of VCU's first 14 points and was 9-of-9 from the floor in the first half. Tillman finished 13-of-17 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds.
  • Sophomore Issac Vann and senior Khris Lane scored 17 points apiece and combined for 15 rebounds for VCU.
  • Senior point guard Johnny Williams provided 11 points and a career-high eight assists for the Rams. He was 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Williams was also crucial down the stretch for VCU Monday.
  • North Florida's JT Escobar led the Ospreys with 21 points and buried 7-of-11 from behind the arc. Garret Sams posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Ospreys. 

THE DIFFERENCE

  • VCU scored the final eight points of the game, including a critical floater by Williams with under a minute to play, to put away the Ospreys.
  • The Rams led 84-73 with 7:14 left, but North Florida got a 3-pointer from Sams and a layup by Noah Horchler on back-to-back trips down the floor to draw within 88-85 with 2:56 on the clock.
  • In the first half, Escobar gave North Florida its largest lead, at 36-32 following a Horchler offensive rebound. But VCU chipped away. The Rams used a 7-0 burst to retake the lead, and Vann buried a 3-pointer from the left corner as time expired to send VCU to the locker room with a 50-45 halftime lead.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

  • Tillman has scored 41 points in 41 minutes of play this season.
  • VCU has scored 94 and 95 points in its first two games, respectively, of the 2017-18 season. It's the first time the Black and Gold has scored 90 in consecutive games since dropping 94 and 93 on Richmond and Duquesne, respectively, during the 2015-16 season. The Rams also scored 98 points against Virginia Union in their final exhibition contest on Nov. 3.
  • North Florida drained 9-of-18 from distance in the first half, and ended the night 17-of-40 (.425) from beyond the arc.
  • VCU shot 37-of-72 (.514) from the floor, scoring 56 of its points in the paint.
  • The Ospreys coughed up 16 turnovers to the Rams' nine, resulting in 23 points for the Black and Gold.

NEXT UP
VCU will host 2-0 Virginia on Friday, Nov. 17 at the Siegel Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. CBS Sports Network will broadcast the contest.