RAMS THAW OUT, CLAW BACK FOR ROAD WIN AT LA SALLE

Score: VCU 80, La Salle 74
Location: Philadelphia, Pa. (Gola Arena)
Records: VCU 10-6 (2-1 Atlantic 10) La Salle 7-9 (1-2)

The short story: Five VCU players scored in double figures, including sophomore Malik Crowfield, who poured in all 17 of his points in the second half to help the Rams dig out of a big early deficit on the way to a road win over La Salle Saturday at Tom Gola Arena.

OPENING TIP

  • Crowfield buried five 3-pointers after halftime and sparked a decisive run early in the period.
  • Sophomore guard De'Riante Jenkins led VCU with 20 points, including four triples of his own.
  • Senior forward Justin Tillman continued his torrid post-Maui Invitational stretch with his fifth consecutive double-double (13 points/10 rebounds) and provided a vicious go-ahead slam dunk with 16:28 remaining. While the game remained tight down the stretch, VCU never relinquished the lead again.
  • Redshirt sophomore Issac Vann (14) and senior point guard Johnny Williams (10) also reached double digits for the Black & Gold.
  • Pookie Powell scored 24 points to lead all scorers for La Salle.

THE DIFFERENCE

  • VCU, beset by turnovers, endured a disastrous stretch in the game's first six minutes on the way to a 15-0 deficit. But Jenkins led the Rams back from the dead initially with three 3-pointers during a 12-1 burst that trimmed the La Salle lead to 29-26 with 5:59 left in the half.
  • The Rams opened the second half in nearly a polar opposite manner to that of the first. Crowfield drilled three straight treys to ignite a 21-4 VCU run over the first 5:37 of the period that provided VCU with a 53-44 cushion.
  • La Salle, led by Powell, later cut the VCU advantage to 76-74 with 44 seconds on the clock. But VCU forced Powell into difficult shots on two straight possessions and the Rams nailed four straight free throws to secure the victory.
  • VCU shot .536 (15-of-28) from the floor in the second half and committed just four turnovers.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

  • VCU knocked down 19-of-22 (.864) from the free throw line Saturday.
  • Saturday's win was VCU's first true road win of the year. The Rams had previously dropped contests at Seton Hall and Saint Joseph's.
  • Tillman owns six double-doubles in his past 10 games and has 23 in his career.

NEXT UP
VCU will return home to take on Duquesne on Tuesday, Jan. 9 at 8 p.m. That game will be broadcast on Stadium.