DAVIDSON, N.C. (AP) – JeQuan Lewis scored 22 points and Melvin Johnson had 21 to lead VCU to a 79-69 win over Davidson on Friday night, the Rams’ 11th straight win.
Mo Alie-Cox hit 8 of 11 from the field to score 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for VCU (16-5, 8-0 Atlantic 10).
Johnson had 15 points and Cox 12 in the first half when the Rams made 17 of 32 shots to build at 38-28 lead. The Wildcats had rallied from a 22-7 deficit less than eight minutes into the game.
Jack Gibbs scored 25 of his 37 points in the second half for Davidson (12-7, 4-4), which had its 15-game home winning streak snapped, but Lewis had 17 of his points to protect the VCU cushion. The Rams also had a 23-9 rebounding advantage after halftime.
Davidson got within two on a Gibbs 3 with 6:51 left but the Rams scored the next nine to lead 66-55 with 4:30 left.
The following comes directly from VCU:
RAMS SURGE EARLY, WITHSTAND GIBBS LATE TO PUSH WIN STREAK TO 11
Score: VCU 79, Davidson 69
Location: Davidson, N.C. (Belk Arena)
Records: VCU 16-5 (8-0 A-10), Davidson 12-7 (4-4)
The Short Story: VCU stormed to a big early lead, but it was a late 15-4 burst, led by JeQuan Lewis, Justin Tillman and Mo Alie-Cox, that sent the Rams to their 11th straight win Friday night at Belk Arena. Lewis finished with 22 points.
- VCU led by as many as 22 points, but Davidson closed within 57-55 with 6:39 left on a Jack Gibbs 3-pointer. But Lewis launched a 15-4 VCU run with a layup on the next possession. Lewis would also drive the final nails in Davidson’s coffin with a 3-pointer at the 2:58 mark and an assist to Alie-Cox on a thunderous dunk with 2:43 left that made it 72-59. Lewis, Alie-Cox and Tillman scored all 15 of VCU’s points during the decisive push.
- Gibbs erupted for a game-high 37 points for Davidson, but VCU forced him into six early turnovers as the Rams built a 29-7 advantage by the 8:49 mark of the first half.
- The Rams used a 16-2 run, sparked by back-to-back jumpers by Melvin Johnson to turn an early 13-5 edge into a stunning 22-point lead.
- Johnson scored 15 of his 21 in the first half and Alie-Cox added 12 of his 18 in the period as the Rams took a 38-28 lead into the lockerroom at the break.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Lewis scored 17 of his 22 after the half for VCU. He also handed out five assists and ripped four of the Rams’ 11 steals.
- Alie-Cox logged his second career double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. He also blocked a pair of shots.
- Johnson added 21 points, while Tillman chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds.
- VCU shot 50 percent (31-of-62) from the field in the game and outrebounded Davidson by a decisive 45-26 advantage.
- The Rams outscored Davidson in the paint 46-20.
- Davidson was 10-0 at home prior to VCU’s win Friday. The Wildcats had won 30 of their last 31 at Belk Arena.
- VCU has won 13 straight games against Atlantic 10 competition, dating back to last season. The Rams’ last loss to an A-10 foe came at the hands of Davidson on March 5 at Belk Arena.
- The Rams are 8-0 in league play for the first time since they opened 11-0 in the CAA in 2006-07. VCU finished 16-2 in the CAA that season and captured the league’s regular season and tournament crowns before upsetting Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
- “Those first 15 minutes are about as well as we can play.” – VCU Coach Will Wade
- VCU will stay on the road and face La Salle on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at Tom Gola Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.