The Ted Constant Convocation Center had a sold-out performance for one of the oldest rivalries in the south, Old Dominion University and Virginia Commonwealth University basketball. VCU ended up beating ODU in the final minutes 67-64.
Old Dominion started strong and fed off the crowd with show-boating dunks and fast breaks. Those fast breaks were effects of the Rams’ poor ball control and failure to rebound in the first half. VCU only had eight defensive rebounds in the first half and the one thing VCU didn’t expect from their rival was for them to shoot 75% from beyond the arc in the first half. Because of this, the Rams had to reformat their defensive strategy. The Rams were down by six at halftime, and were being led by Jordan Burgess, who had seven points in the first half.
VCU came back and won in the second half due to free throws, JeQuan Lewis’ three-pointers, and De’Riante Jenkins. With a 72.2% free throw percentage and Justin Tillman giving the Rams their first lead of the game off of a free throw, ODU fouling might have led to their demise. On a 16-point run by the Rams, 12 were scored by Lewis. This was a momentum-changer for VCU and shocked the ODU fans, coaches, and players. Last but not least, De’Riante Jenkins. Jenkins has been showing out for the Rams in his first season and was essential in Saturday’s game. Jenkins had 11 points and made 5 for 8 shots, sticking to his season average of 53% shooting percentage.
VCU cut down the ODU lead of 11 to end up winning by three. Regardless of Tillman and Lewis, in a career-making second half, fouling out, some of the freshman with the help of the seniors pushed the Rams into winning yet another rivalry game at ODU, making the record of 49-43 in favor of VCU. The Rams will host Middle Tennessee on December 17th at 7 p.m.
Stay tuned to Rams Review for more Men’s Basketball coverage throughout the season!