Richmond, VA – It was a game of runs with VCU’s pressure defense providing a NCAA quality win for Coach Mike Rhodes and the Rams. Led by the play of 6-7 senior forward Marcus Santos-Silva who totaled 17 points and 11 rebounds VCU picked up an impressive 84-82 victory against a Will Wade led LSU team. The active and athletic Rams forced 26 turnovers which resulted in 37 VCU points.
The first four minutes of the game started out slow as VCU started out tight and the athletic LSU Tigers opened up a quick 6-0 led behind the play of 6-9 freshman sensation Trendon Watford. Watford pumped in four quick points to start the game and finished with 11 points.
VCU picked up the pressure and intensity. They started trapping and double teaming the LSU guards as soon as they crossed half-court. They forced two quick turnovers, which helped close LSU’s lead to 11-5. VCU’s second unit continued their all out pressure trapping defense and went on a 16-6 run to open up a 21-17 lead with 9:49 left in the half forcing LSU to call two timeouts less than nine seconds apart.
VCU continued their quick up and down offensive pace behind the shooting of soph Vince Williams, a 6-6 lefty (11 points) and 6-6 senior Isaac Vann (11 points) scored the next four baskets to push the VCU lead up to 32-29 with 4:59 left in the half. The first half ended with the Rams going on a 18-9 run to take a 50-38 lead.
The second half started out strong play from VCU seniors De’Rainte Jenkins, a, 6-6 wing and 6-2 Marcus Evans. Both finished the game with 15 points and they continued to put on the pressure pushing VCU’s lead to 62-48 with 15:31 in the game.
But there was no quit in the Tigers who were led by 6-5 soph Javonte Smith (15 points) and 6-4 senior Skylar Mays, who led LSU with 23 points. The talented Tigers went to work going on their own 15-2 run to tie the game up at 67 with 8:56 remaining. The Rams responded with another 11-4 run to advance to lead to 78-71 with 3:22 left in the game.
But LSU refused to go down without a fight scoring 11 of the next 14 points to take an 82-81 lead after two made free throws from Mays with 41 seconds left. The rest of the game was a battle of free throws. The big shots came after Jenkins was fouled by LSU’s Emmitt Williams behind the 3-point line with 27 seconds left in the game. Jenkins made two free throws to put the Rams up 83-82. Marcus Santos-Silva iced the game making 1 of 2 free throws to cap off the 84-82 VCU victory.