VCU Beats UNC-Asheville 80-65



The VCU Rams used an efficient and balanced attack as they cruised past the UNC Asheville Bulldogs 80-65 at the Siegel Center Friday night. The Rams’ leading scorer was Mo Alie-Cox with 15 points, but four other players scored in double figures.

The first half alone had 9 lead changes as VCU and UNC Asheville traded baskets. The effort and hustle Coach Wade demanded was clearly there. The Rams showed much more grit and hustle on defense, which in turn led to more fast break opportunities. VCU had 11 steals on the night.


Johnny Williams dribbles through traffic. Photo by Pilar Curtis.


Junior Justin Tillman provided a much-needed spark off the bench, contributing 14 points and 6 rebounds in just 24 minutes of play. One fast-break in particular had Tillman catching a beautiful alley-oop and slamming it home, getting the crowed to their feet. A 3 by senior point guard JeQuan Lewis gave the Rams a 36-30 lead at halftime.

VCU opened the second half on a bad note as they immediately committed a turnover and conceded a 3 as a result. However, the defense quickly returned to its stifling ways. These spurts of defense allowed the Rams to play fast up and down the court. Junior Jonathan Williams provided steady play from the point guard position, contributing 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. He made good decisions all night, whether he kicked it out for an open shot or drove to the hoop.

VCU standout Mo Alie-Cox contributed the open lanes to the bigs sprinting the floor, saying “when we do that the opponent doesn’t have time to react.”

One of the most exhilarating plays in the game came in the closing moments as Tillman slammed another alley-oop from a falling Williams. His size and length was a problem all game for UNC Asheville. Coming off the heels of Coach Wade saying his team “needed” to do better in the post, his frontline stepped up. VCU out-rebounded UNC Asheville 35-25, including 11 offensive rebounds. The Bulldogs had none.

Mo Alie-Cox attempts to pass the ball while on the ground. Photo by Pilar Curtis.

Even as they pressed the issue down low, it was clearly an inside-out game with great ball movement. They didn’t shoot the 3 ball very well (31.6%) but they made big, timely ones.

“Guys fed us the ball down low so we just had to reward them”, said Tillman about his teammates on the perimeter.

Senior Doug Brooks and freshman Samir Doughty were key contributors off the bench. They accounted for half of the team’s threes and played tough and aggressive defense. Brooks had 12 points, 4 assists, and 3 steals, while Doughty chipped in with 10 points of his own.

“We just needed to win,” said Coach Wade. “It helps that we played a little bit better and stuck to our formula and played to our standards,” he added.

The Rams return to action on Tuesday, when they travel to Liberty University. Tip-off is at 8 pm. As always, stay tuned to Rams Review as we continue to bring you coverage of the basketball season!

Written by Kenan Keranovic

Edited by Gabe Hauari

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