RICHMOND,VA (WWAY) — Senior point guard Joey Rodriguez poured in 25 points to lead four players in double figures as Colonial Athletic Association leader VCU completed a sweep of the regular season series with a 79-70 downing of the Seahawks Saturday night at the Stuart Siegel Center.
The Rams won their ninth straight game to climb to 18-5 overall and 10-1 in the CAA. VCU also pushed its home winning streak to 22 games with the win in front of a sellout crowd of 7,552 fans assembled for the annual Homecoming game.
The Seahawks dropped their third straight and now stand 10-12 overall and 4-7 in league play.
“I’m not happy for not winning, but if we compete like that we can win some games down the stretch,” said Buzz Peterson, UNCW’s first-year skipper. “Our guys really competed hard. Overall, I was pleased because we played unselfish basketball and found the open man. They were just hot early and hit some shots.”
Rodriguez scored 16 of his game-high total in the first half and wound up connecting on 9-for-11 at the free throw line. Junior guard Bradford Burgess added 17 points, senior guard Ed Nixon collected 16 points and reserve forward Toby Veal had 10 for the Rams.
Junior forward Trevor Deloach poured in a career-high 20 points to anchor three players in double figures for the Seahawks. Senior playmaker Chad Tomko added 15 points and senior guard Ahmad Grant had 14.
The Rams, playing without injured starters Jamie Skeen and Brandon Rozzell, raced out to a 42-31 lead at intermission and led by as many as 17 points in the second half before knocking off the Seahawks for the fourth straight time.
After VCU took a 42-31 lead at halftime, the lead ballooned to 55-41 on a Toby Veal bucket at 13:12 and the Rams used a 10-2 run to increase the margin to 65-48 on a triple by Bradford Burgess with 9:20 left in the game. It was the largest lead of the contest for the Rams, who shot 42.6 percent on the night.
UNCW still trailed 67-50, when Tomko ignited an 11-2 spurt that brought the Seahawks within striking distance. Tomko canned back-to-back triples to start the run and a putback by sophomore forward Keith Rendleman close the gap to 69-61 with 3:42 remaining.
However, Rodriguez sealed the game at the free throw line for the Rams, connecting on 5-for-6 at the charity stripe in the final 1:23 to help Shaka Smart’s club nail down the win.
In the first half, VCU sank five of its first six three-point field goal attempts to build a 15-5 cushion at 15:32. Rodriguez drained a triple from the right wing to cap a 9-0 run and give the Rams a quick 10-point cushion.
After the Rams extended the margin to 12 points, 27-15, on a tip-in by freshman forward Javonte Redic with just under 10 minutes left, the Seahawks closed the gap to 27-21 at 8:09 when Deloach and Tanner Milson banged in back-to-back three balls.
Deloach hit another trifecta with 31 seconds left in the half to make the score, 39-31, but Nixon launched a long distance bomb as time expired to give the Rams a lift going into the break.
The Rams went 10-for-20 behind the arc in the first half, just one shy of the game high for an opponent this season against the Seahawks. UNCW, meanwhile, shot 52 percent in the first 20 minutes to stay within striking distance.
UNCW resumes CAA action on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. tip-off against Georgia State in Atlanta. VCU carries its nine-game winning streak to Boston on Wednesday to face Northeastern at 7 p.m.
GAME NOTES: The Seahawks dropped to 33-46 all-time in Richmond with the loss, including 2-10 at the Siegel Center…UNCW wrapped up January with a 4-6 record…VCU attempted 20 three-pointers in the first half…Three VCU players reached double figures by halftime…Trevor Deloach had 13 points at intermission for his first double digit night since facing VCU back on Jan. 8 at Trask Coliseum…Buzz Peterson was assessed his second technical of the season with 10:18 left by official Gary Praeger…It was the first sellout of the season for the Rams…UNCW won the rebounding battle, 35-31…The Seahawks committed 18 turnovers, while the Rams finished with eight miscues…VCU had 14 steals on the night…UNCW outscored VCU, 39-37, in the second half…Keith Rendleman grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for the Seahawks, marking the seventh time this season he has reached double figures on the glass.
Article courtesy UNCW Sports Information