VCU beats Xavier, La Salle gets by URI
The Virginia Commonwealth men’s basketball team overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to defeat Xavier 75-71 in Cincinnati.
Trailing 39-26 at the break, the Rams outscored the Musketeers 49-32 in the second half to secure the four-point victory. Senior Troy Daniels led the way offensively for VCU (22-6, 10-3 Atlantic 10), scoring 19 points, 15 of which came from 3-pointers. Junior Rob Brandenberg added 18 points for the Rams, while sophomore Treveon Graham scored 17.
After Xavier (15-11, 8-5 A-10) scored two fast buckets to take a 43-26 lead at start the second half, VCU went on a 26-8 run to take a 52-51 lead with 10 minutes left in the game. The Musketeers hung close until the very end, but clutch free throw shooting by the Rams sealed the victory.
Sophomore Dee Davis and senior Brad Redford led Xavier in scoring with 15 points apiece.
VCU next hosts No. 20 Butler on Saturday, while the Musketeers face No. 19 Memphis in a non-conference matchup.
Explorers collect win over URI
La Salle picked up its 19th win of the season when it pushed past Rhode Island 72-65 on Saturday.
The Explorers (19-7, 9-4 A-10) trailed by three at halftime, but used a 25-8 run early in the second half to take a lead they would never surrender. Junior Tyreek Duren scored a game-high 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting for La Salle, and sophomore Jerrell Wright was a machine on the boards, picking up 15 rebounds while adding 12 points.
Rams (8-18, 3-10 A-10) junior Xavier Munford finished with a team-high 18 points, while senior Nikola Malesevic and freshman Mike Aaman each chipped in 15 points. Although the two teams shot almost identical percentages from the floor, the Explorers sank nine 3-pointers, as opposed to URI’s five.
La Salle looks to pick up its 20th win of the season on Saturday when it takes on struggling Duquesne. The Rams, trying to avoid their third loss in a row, visit the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia on Saturday when they face Temple.
Temple dismantles Charlotte
Temple picked up its third consecutive win on Sunday when it overpowered Charlotte 71-51 behind an 18-point effort from senior Scootie Randall.
Randall, who played 36 minutes, shot 58 percent from the field, converting 3-of-5 3-pointers. Senior Khalif Wyatt also had a solid outing for the Owls (19-8, 8-5 A-10), contributing 12 points and seven assists.
The victory was Temple’s second over the 49ers (18-8, 6-6 A-10) this season, having won earlier in the month, 89-88. Unlike in the earlier matchup, however, the Owls controlled the game from start to finish, taking a 15-point lead into halftime.
Charlotte shot a dismal 27 percent from the field, including hitting only 1-of-12 3-point attempts. Sophomore Pierria Henry and freshman Mike Thorne led the 49ers in scoring with 10 points apiece.
Temple will take a break from conference play when it faces Detroit on Thursday in a makeup game that was postponed from December. The 49ers look to get back on track Wednesday with a home matchup with conference-rival Dayton.
Jason Kates can be reached at email@example.com.