VCU fell to Queens University 75-73 on Friday night in their season-opening exhibition game. Starting the season with a loss is never the start that players, coaches, and fans hope for, but this is not the end of the world.
VCU started strong by winning the opening tip-off and junior Johnathan Williams got the first points of the game. He was fouled and made the free throwing, giving the Rams an early 3-0 lead. Queens gained some momentum and were up by 4 at the first media time out.
Junior Justin Tillman had a monster dunk that energized the crowd led to a Queens timeout. Tillman’s presence and energy changed the pace for the Rams for the first half. The game was tied at halftime.
Tillman continued his strong play in the second half. He had numerous crowd-pleasing dunks and was fouled many times.
The Rams trailed by as many as 11 in the second half, but rallied to tie the game at 73 on a pair of free throws by Mo Alie-Cox with 9.4 seconds remaining. Queens won it on a layup by Ike Agusi with 1.3 seconds left.
Freshman Malik Crowfield was a bright spot for the Rams, as he contributed a few clutch free throws as well as some timely shooting from deep. Coach Wade praised Crowfield for his poise in the game and stated that he was a good listener.
One of the big problems for VCU was turnovers. “We had 25 turnovers and we try to have not more than 12,” senior JeQuan Lewis stated. “We gotta clean that up.”
“We have too much freedom on offense. I’ll have to dust off the old playbook and call some plays,” said Wade.
Another mistake by VCU was not getting their bigs involved. The Rams shot just 36.4% from the field while Queens shot 48.3%. The Rams tried to match the Royals shot-for-shot, and that eventually became an advantage for Queens.
The Rams’ regular season tips off this Friday night at 7 pm at the Siegel Center when they take on UNC-Asheville.
As always, stay tuned to Rams Review for updates and coverage on the basketball season!
Written by Daniel Puryear
Edited by Gabe Hauari