VCU drops Maui opener to Marquette 94-83

The following comes directly from VCU:

Maui Jim Maui Invitational

Score: Marquette 94, VCU 83

Location: Maui, Hawaii (Lahaina Civic Center)

Records: VCU 2-2, Marquette 2-1

The short story: Sophomore guard Malik Crowfield scored a career-high 17 points, but it wasn’t enough for VCU to withstand a hot-shooting Marquette team Monday on the first day of the 2017 Maui Jim Maui Invitational.

OPENING TIP

·      Crowfield knocked down 5-of-7 from beyond the 3-point arc and scored 11 of VCU’s first 20 points of the game to pace the Rams.

·      Senior forward Justin Tillman added 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocks for VCU, while senior guard Johnny Williams chipped in nine points, six assists and two steals.

·      Three Marquette players recorded 20-plus point efforts, including Markus Howard, who poured in 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half. Sam Hauser and Andrew Rowsey each provided 20.

THE DIFFERENCE

·      Marquette grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and was able to turn them into 22 second-chance points.

·      The Golden Eagles outrebounded the Rams 40-32 and knocked down 13-of-36 from beyond the arc.

·      VCU went ahead 47-45 early in the second half on a layup by senior forward Khris Lane off a Williams steal. But a short time later the Golden Eagles got back-to-back 3-pointers from Howard to spur an 8-0 burst that pushed Marquette in front 59-51 with 13:56 left. VCU was able to draw within five on a Tillman 3-pointer from the right wing with 9:42 remaining, but could get no closer.

·      The Rams opened the game with a 10-3 blitz, sparked by a pair of Crowfield treys, but Marquette answered with a 12-0 run.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

·      Marquette shot .515 (34-of-66) from the floor.

·      VCU received a big lift from its bench, which provided 25 points. Sophomore swingman Mike’l Simms supplied nine points, six rebounds and two steals in his best performance as a Ram.

·      The Rams forced a season-high 17 turnovers and scored 24 points off those miscues.

QUOTABLE

“We have a lot of fight. You guys see, we have a lot of fight, and we can score the ball. But we’ve got to guard. I think for the guys that want to go play and ball out, as I like to say, but you’ve got to get tough on the defensive end. If you want to beat teams like Marquette, you have to get stops and consecutive stops. I love the fight of my team. I love how much they love playing with each other, they care about each other, they celebrate each other’s successes. Now it starts with me. We’ve just got to get better and better on the defensive end.” – VCU Coach Mike Rhoades

NEXT UP

VCU will take on California at 4 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, Nov. 21. ESPN2 will broadcast that game.