Will Wade made his head coaching debut at the Atlantic 10 tournament Friday night, and his VCU Rams did not disappoint as they beat No. 10 seed Massachusetts 85-70 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Melvin Johnson led four Rams in double figures with 19 points as VCU won despite shooting 1-for-16 from beyond the arc. Overall VCU shot 40.3 percent from the field, but their ability to hit the offensive glass proved to be the difference. VCU managed to rebound 42.6 percent of its missed shots, converting 20 offensive rebounds into 16 second-chance points. Add in 50 points in the paint, and the Rams were able to remove any doubt early in the second half as they led by as much as 20.
JeQuan Lewis added 16 points and three assists, Korey Bilbury 12 points and Justin Tillman ten points and nine rebounds as the Rams moved one step closer to an NCAA tournament berth.
Trey Davis led UMass with 20 points and Jabarie Hinds and Rashaan Holloway added 16 apiece, but the rebounding and live turnovers proved to be too much to overcome. UMass committed just 12 turnovers, but VCU converted those mistakes into 20 points.
With a record below .500, No. 10 seed Massachusetts is at a point where the only way in which they’ll reach postseason play is by winning the Atlantic 10 tournament. It’s a longshot to say the least, but Derek Kellogg’s Minutemen kept the dream alive with a 67-62 win over No. 7 seed Rhode Island in the second round of the Atlantic 10 tournament Thursday night.
Trey Davis’ three-pointer with 32.7 seconds remaining gave UMass the cushion they needed to hang on for the win in a game they led by as much as 18 points in the first half. Jabarie Hinds, who scored 16 points in the first half, finished with a game-high 21 points and Davis added 20 for UMass. Next up for the Minutemen is No. 2 seed VCU in Friday’s quarterfinal round.
Four McGlynn scored 16 points for the Rams, who dropped to 17-15 on the season. McGlynn shot just 5-for-17 from the field, with fellow guard Jared Terrell scoring 14 points on 5-for-16 shooting. As a team the Rams shot just 34.9 percent from the field and 4-for-21 from beyond the arc.
Friday’s quarterfinal round at the Atlantic 10 tournament can be seen on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.
Four more teams will begin Atlantic 10 conference play Sunday afternoon, two of which being the UMass Minutemen and the La Salle Explorers. The Minutemen and Explorers face off at Tom Gola Arena at 5:00 p.m. Eastern in a game that can be seen on NBCSN, and it’s also available of NBC Sports Live Extra.
Derek Kellogg’s Minutemen enter league play having won two of their last three games, and they’re led by the experienced guard triumvirate of Jabarie Hinds, Trey Davis and Donte Clarke. Those three combine to average nearly 53 points per game for UMass, which is averaging 80 points per game on the season.
WATCH LIVE: UMass vs. La Salle on NBC Sports Live Extra
La Salle will counter with one of the nation’s highest scorers in junior guard Jordan Price, who’s currently averaging 22.8 points per game. Fellow guards Cleon Roberts and Johnnie Shuler are also scoring in double figures, serving as supplementary scorers to the high-scoring Price.
La Salle’s lost five straight games, with their lack of depth being an issue, and UMass will look to exploit that today. This game can be watched on NBC Sports Live Extra by clicking here.