VCU douses Flames 64-59 at Liberty

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The following comes directly from VCU:

Score: VCU 64, Liberty 59

Location: Lynchburg, Va. (Vines Center)

Records: VCU 2-0, Liberty 1-1

The short story: Senior guard JeQuan Lewis led VCU with 13 points, and classmate Mo Alie-Cox knocked down 4-of-4 free throws in the final 20 seconds as the Rams earned a hard-fought victory at Liberty Tuesday night.

OPENING TIP

·      Alie-Cox finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots off the bench to bolster VCU.

·      Senior Jordan Burgess also logged a workman-like 9-point, 8-rebound, 3-assist effort for the Rams. His drive to the bucket for two with 40 seconds remaining gave VCU a 60-54 lead and kept Liberty at bay.

·      Nine Rams scored and all 11 available VCU players appeared. Ahmed Hamdy (8 points), Samir Doughty (8 points) and Malik Crowfield (6 points) provided scoring balance.

·      VCU junior Justin Tillman missed Tuesday’s game with a foot injury. He is listed as day-to-day.

·      John Dawson led three Liberty players in double figures with 14 points.

THE DIFFERENCE

·      Liberty knocked on the door continually down the stretch, but each time, VCU found a timely answer. Doughty tipped in his own miss with 2:41 remaining to push the Rams in front 56-48. A short time later, it was Burgess who fought through traffic to lay a ball off the glass to give VCU a 60-54 edge. Dawson hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with 22.7 remaining, but Alie-Cox sealed the VCU win with four perfect trips to the line in the waning moments.

·      VCU took command early in the second half, opening the period with a 9-3 burst behind back-to-back Hamdy buckets and a Crowfield three. The Rams would lead by as many as 12 points, at 54-42 with 6:08 left, before the Flames would mount a comeback.

·      Liberty came out of the locker room ready Friday. The Flames used an 11-0 run early in the first half to grab a 16-7 advantage. But VCU answered with an 11-0 blitz of its own that included a pair successful Doughty drives. Later, Lewis buried a 3-pointer from up top just before the first half horn to give the Rams a 34-31 lead at intermission.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

·      VCU outscored Liberty 34-16 in the paint. VCU is outscoring its opponents in the paint 78-46 so far this season.

·      VCU shot .468 (22-of-47) from the floor, including .500 (10-of-20) in the second half. The Rams held Liberty to a .386 (17-of-44) effort from the field.

·      The Rams owned a 35-26 advantage on the glass.

QUOTABLE

·      “It was a good win. We’ve certainly got things we can get better at, things we can fix, but our defense looked pretty good for the most part. We knew we were going to need that. We knew it was going to be a meat grinder.” – VCU Coach Will Wade.

UP NEXT

VCU will host Binghamton on Friday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. at the E.J. Wade Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.