Saint Joseph's vs VCU

No. 25 VCU edges St. Joseph's in A-10 quarters


NEW YORK -- VCU built a big lead with its fast-paced, aggressive style - and nearly lost it that way.

The 25th-ranked Rams held off a frantic Saint Joseph's rally for an 82-79 win in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament Friday night. Treveon Graham scored 17 points, one of five players in double figures.

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"It's just what we do. We're not very good when we're not aggressive," coach Shaka Smart said.

VCU (25-7) made 11 of its first 21 3-point attempts to go up by 17 with just over eight minutes left. Then the second-seeded Rams kept taking 3-pointers early in the shot clock and missed their last seven.

"That's just going out there playing loose," senior Troy Daniels said. "If we're up 13, we still have to play our basketball. We can't just play tentative."

Down 15 with less than two minutes remaining, the 10th-seeded Hawks nearly came all the way back. Saint Joseph's (18-13) pulled within 80-76 with 9.1 seconds to go, but Darius Theus found an open Briante Weber downcourt for an emphatic slam to cap the victory.

Theus had 12 points and six assists, making all five of his field-goal attempts. Melvin Johnson, a freshman from the Bronx, scored 12 in his homecoming as VCU's bench players were pressed into big minutes because of foul trouble.

Carl Jones scored 29 points and Langston Galloway had 25 for the Hawks.

"I compliment my team. We asked them to play 40 minutes, and they played a full 40 minutes," coach Phil Martelli said. "But you get a scholarship to play hard. You have to play well, and I don't think we played particularly well for long stretches of this game."

The Rams left behind the home-court advantage of playing their conference tournament in Richmond when they departed the Colonial Athletic Association for the A-10 this season. Not that anyone could tell Friday, with a large contingent of fans in black and gold roaring every time VCU forced a turnover or drained a 3-pointer.

Also in the crowd at Brooklyn's Barclays Center was noted New York City basketball fan Spike Lee.

VCU scored seven straight points in less than a minute-and-a-half to break open the game midway through the second half. Halil Kanacevic, who was also in the middle of some chippy moments in the first half, appeared to have a potential three-point play to pull the Hawks within five.

Instead, he was called for a flagrant foul after his elbow smacked Graham in the jaw as the Saint Joseph's forward drove to the basket. Graham made both free throws, then Daniels hit a 3 for a five-point possession. When Theus blew past Jones for an uncontested layup, VCU was suddenly up 58-43.

"We messed up on a couple assignments," Galloway said. "They got free; they hit jumpers when they needed to. That was the difference in the game."

The Rams forced 17 turnovers and converted them into 25 points. Weber made five steals to set the school single-season record with 91.

Daniels, who came in having made 107 3-pointers this season, missed four attempts from behind the arc in the final seven minutes. No one will convince Smart those are bad shots.

"I'm taking that. Now maybe conventional wisdom says otherwise," Smart said. "But I take my chances with that."

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Troy Daniels pulls up for a jumper during VCU's tight win over Saint Joseph's in the A-10 semis.  (AP)
Troy Daniels pulls up for a jumper during VCU's tight win over Saint Joseph's in the A-10 semis. (AP)
Saint Joseph's (18-13)235679
Virginia Commonwealth #25 (25-7) «334982
STJOES:C. Jones 29 Pts
STJOES:H. Kanacevic 8 Reb
STJOES:H. Kanacevic 7 Ast
VCU:T. Graham 17 Pts
VCU:J. Reddic 8 Reb
VCU:D. Theus 6 Ast

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Saint Joseph'sVCU
Carl Jones
Treveon Graham
Saint Joseph's Hawks
C. Jones, G368-1610-1311429
L. Galloway, G368-124-423425
H. Kanacevic, F344-72-287310
C. Wilson, G290-31-42121
R. Roberts, F252-31-35005
C. Aiken, F231-23-48035
D. Quarles, G-F120-30-03010
P. Ndao, F31-11-30004
T. Trevisan, G10-00-00000
E. Maschmeyer, G10-00-00000
E. Kindler, FDid Not Play
C. Coyne, GDid Not Play
C. Kelly, FDid Not Play
J. Baumann, CDid Not Play
I. Miles, FDid Not Play
K. Molock, GDid Not Play
Totals 24-4722-3329121779
VCU Rams
T. Graham, G296-112-232217
D. Theus, G285-51-216412
T. Daniels, G265-140-130314
R. Brandenberg, G235-102-221113
J. Reddic, F221-45-68037
M. Johnson, G195-111-222112
B. Weber, G182-40-03544
J. Tuoyo, F141-10-01023
J. Guest, F120-00-04030
T. Okereafor, G50-00-01100
D. Hinton, F40-00-00010
D. Haley, CDid Not Play
M. Alie-Cox, FDid Not Play
J. Burgess, GDid Not Play
Totals 30-6011-1528172482
Atlantic 10
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Rhode Island7-015-311
Saint Josephs4-39-9177
Saint Louis3-410-10179
George Mason3-49-11194
St. Bona.2-412-648
Geo. Wash.2-59-11191
La Salle2-58-12158
Other games
ILL 64 Final
IND 80
BC 58 Final
CHAR 55 Final
STL 72
LSU 58 Final
FLA 80
MICH 59 Final
NEB 50 Final
TULSA 74 Final
SYR 58 Final
MD 83 Final
IAST 73 Final
KAN 88
IOWA 56 Final
SDSU 50 Final
ARIZ 64 Final
ND 57 Final
LOU 69
OKST 57 Final
KSU 68