NEW YORK (AP) — Treveon Graham scored 17 points, and hot-shooting VCU beat Saint Joseph’s 82-79 in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament Friday night.
The 25th-ranked Rams made 11 3-pointers to build a double-digit lead in the second half before the Hawks’ frantic comeback in the final minutes fell short. Darius Theus had 12 points and six assists, making all five of his field-goal attempts, as five players scored in double figures for second-seeded VCU (25-7).
Tenth-seeded Saint Joseph’s pulled within 80-76 with 9.1 seconds left, but Theus found an open Briante Weber downcourt for an emphatic slam to cap the victory.
Carl Jones scored 29 points and Langston Galloway had 25 for the Hawks (18-13).
The Rams left behind the home-court advantage of playing their conference tournament in Richmond when they departed the Colonial Athletic Association for the A-10 this season. Not that anyone could tell Friday, with a large contingent of fans in black and gold roaring every time VCU forced a turnover or drained a 3-pointer.
Also in the crowd at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center was noted New York City basketball fan Spike Lee.
VCU scored seven straight points in 90 seconds to break open the game midway through the second half. Halil Kanacevic, who was also in the middle of some chippy moments in the first half, was called for a flagrant foul after his elbow smacked Graham in the jaw as the Saint Joseph’s forward drove to the basket.
Graham made both free throws, then Troy Daniels made a 3 for a five-point possession. When Theus blew past Jones for an uncontested layup, VCU was suddenly up 58-43.
The Rams forced 17 turnovers and converted them into 25 points. Weber made five steals.
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