HAVOC Haven: VCU vs. Oregon State (NCAA Tournament Edition)

(PHOTO GALLERY: Capital News Service)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — I’m hunkered down in an undisclosed location at the 8News studio (the risks I take) for today’s big game between VCU (24-10) from the Atlantic 10 Conference and the PAC-12’s Beavers (19-12) from the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

If you didn’t already, check out my preview for this game and our NCAA Tournament section.

The winner will play No. 2 Oklahoma or No. 15 Cal State-Bakersfield — let’s be serious — the winner will play Oklahoma.

POLL: Will VCU beat Oregon State?

Tale of the tape:

Number 7 Seed: The Oregon State Beavers (Corvallis, Ore.)*

  • Record: 19-12 overall, 9-9 in PAC-12
  • Coach: Wayne Tinkle (194-117)
  • Top Scorers: Gary Payton II (15.9 pts ppg), Tres Tinkle (13.1 ppg)
  • Top Rebounder: Gary Payton II (7.9 rpg)
  • Top shot blocker: Drew Eubanks(1.3 blocks per game)
  • Points Per Game: 72.1
  • Points Allowed Per Game: 70
  • Margin: 2.1
  • Free Throw Percentage: .671
  • Field Goal Percentage: .441
  • Opp. FG Pct..427
  • 3-Point FG Percentage: .370
  • 3-Pt. FG-Game: 6.8
  • Opp. 3-Pt. FG Pct.: .329
  • Opp. 3-Pt. FG-Game: 7.2
  • Rebounding: 37.5
  • Rebound Margin: 2.2
  • Turnovers: 11.45
  • TO Diff.: 2.1
  • Avg Steals: 7.5
  • Avg Blocks: 3.4

Number 10 Seed: The VCU Rams (Richmond, Va.)*

  • Record: 24-10 overall, 14-4 in A-10
  • Coach: Will Wade (62-34)
  • Top Scorers: Melvin Johnson (17.4 ppg), Korey Billbury (11.6 ppg)
  • Top Rebounder: Justin Tillman (6.4 rpg)
  • Top shot blocker: Mo Alie-Cox (1.9 blocks per game)
  • Points Per Game: 77.2
  • Points Allowed Per Game: 67.3
  • Margin: 9.9
  • Free Throw Percentage: .690
  • Field Goal Percentage: .450
  • Opp. FG Pct..440
  • 3-Point FG Percentage: .356
  • 3-Pt. FG-Game: 7.3
  • Opp. 3-Pt. FG Pct.: .336
  • Opp. 3-Pt. FG-Game: 5.5
  • Rebounding: 37.5
  • Rebound Margin: 2.7
  • Turnovers: 11.52
  • TO Diff.: 4.0
  • Avg Steals: 8.8
  • Avg Blocks: 3.8

Starters for VCU: 

Mo Alie-Cox (F), JeQuan Lewis (G), Jonathan Williams (G), Korey Billbury (G), and Melvin Johnson (G)

Score update: After starting out hot, GP2 and the Beavers have quieted down the Rams’ attack. 15-15.

Stat line: VCU continues its woes from 3-ball land — 14.3 percent. VCU 24 — Oregon State 20.

Deep thought: Neither team is shooting that well. I would imagine it’s jitters for Oregon State and par for the course lately for VCU.

Halftime: VCU 36 — Oregon State 28.

14:22 — VCU looks good so far in the second half. Good stat from announcers — Beavers win-less when out rebounded. VCU 47 — Oregon State 37.

Stat line: Board battle — VCU 27 — Oregon State 17.

10:12 — 14-2 run by Oregon State has the Beavers on top (10-0 in under two minutes). Oregon State 51 — VCU 49.

8:03 — A very timely block (Alie-Cox) and three (Johnson). VCU 52 — Oregon State 51.

6:33 — It never gets old watching Alie-Cox dunk. VCU 57 — OSU 52.

Stat line: Three Rams in double-figures (Lewis 15, Alie-Cox 13, Johnson 12).

3:59 — VCU picks a good time to get back on track. VCU 62 — Oregon State 54.

1:36 — Boards have been the key. VCU 73 — Oregon State 62.

53.4 — Deep three from Oregon State cuts the lead to eight with under a minute. VCU 73 — Oregon State 65.

Final Score: VCU 75 — Oregon State 67.

POG: There’s always room for Jello and two POGs. Today, Alie-Cox and Lewis both win the HH PPG (which is a resume builder). Alie-Cox finished with 20 points and eight boards. Lewis chipped in 21 points, eight assists, and seven boards. With Johnson and Billbury both having off games, it was a relief to Ram fans that Alie-Cox, who played the majority of the second half in foul trouble, and Lewis to step it up.

The Insider’s View (courtesy of VCU Athletics)

Official Box Score

The short story: JeQuan Lewis (21 points) and Mo Alie-Cox (20) delivered one of their best games of the season and provided key buckets down the stretch to lead 10th-seeded VCU to a victory over seventh-seeded Oregon State Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. VCU advances to face the winner of Oklahoma and CSU Bakersfield Sunday at Chesapeake Arena.

The difference:

  • Melvin Johnson buried a go-ahead 3-pointer from the left corner with 8:27 left to halt a 10-0 Oregon State run and give the Rams a 52-51 lead. VCU would not trail again. Johnson’s three ignited a 9-1 VCU burst that included a long three by Lewis to make it 55-52. On VCU’s next possession, Alie-Cox grabbed a pass from Lewis, slammed home a dunk and picked up a foul for a three-point opportunity with 6:28 remaining.
  • The Rams hit 8-of-9 free throws in the final five minutes to cement the victory.
  • VCU outrebounded Oregon State 40-28 and outscored the Beavers in the paint 46-37.
  • Trailing 20-17 midway through the first half, VCU used a 9-0 burst that included an old-fashioned three-point play by Johnson and a thunderous Alie-Cox dunk to take a 26-20 lead with 3:47 left in the period. The Rams would take a 36-28 lead into the locker room.

Inside the box score:

  • Lewis finished with 21 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and two steals. He was 3-of-5 from 3-point range.
  • Alie-Cox controlled the paint for VCU and produced 20 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. He was 7-of-8 from the field.
  • Johnson added 12 points for the Rams while Jordan Burgess kicked in eight rebounds off the bench.
  • VCU knocked down 17-of-21 free throws in the contest.
  • Gary Payton II led the Beavers with 19 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals.

Notable

  • VCU earned its first NCAA win since 2012-13. The Rams, making their 15th NCAA appearance, are 13-14 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
  • Will Wade (33) is the youngest head coach in the NCAA Tournament this year.
  • VCU led Friday’s game for 33:28.

Up next

  • The Rams will play Oklahoma Sunday’s second round.

Final thought: It was not pretty. But a win is a win when you are in a one-and-done situation. There should be some concern about Johnson, who continues to struggle. And, WHEN the Rams play Oklahoma, they will need everyone to be all in. Besides the Sooners being THAT good, it will practically be a home game for them; Norman is a suburb of OKC.

8Sports Director Mitch Carr is in Oklahoma City and will be following the Rams during their run in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament. Follow him on Twitter and look for highlights and reaction from Friday’s game on 8News at 6 and 11.

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