Graham leads VCU past Wofford, 72-57
RICHMOND, Va. (AP)
A dozen games into his college career, JeQuan Lewis is feeling more comfortable by the day.
The freshman guard at VCU scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half Tuesday night, helping the Rams overcome a lackluster performance in a 72-57 victory against Wofford.
''I was just trying to push it offensively because that's what we do,'' Lewis said after making 5 of 8 shots and adding four steals. ''If they don't stop me, I just keep going until somebody stops me.''
Lewis' biggest play came after the Terriers closed to within 64-56, a slicing drive that left his defender out of the play and caused the sellout crowd at the Seigel Center to gasp with delight. When he laid it in, the Terriers were finished.
''We had a shot, a couple of opportunities to make it interesting,'' Wofford coach Mike Young said. ''You can have things right where you want it and the freshman point guard blows you up off the bounce.''
Rams coach Shaka Smart said he's not surprised by how quickly Lewis has become a go-to scorer.
''He's playing better than anyone on our team offensively,'' Smart said. ''I don't think we ran a play for him in the second half. He was just pushing the ball. ... JeQuan really put their defense back on their heels.''
And, in stretches, put the Rams on his back.
''He can flat tear the nets off of it from deep,'' Young said.
Treveon Graham scored 15 of his 18 points in the first half for VCU (9-3), but on a night when Juvonte Reddic ''was not into it,'' according to Smart, the Rams needed Lewis' contributions in a 14-5 second-half run that gave them command.
Reddic, VCU's leading rebounder, averaging 7.4 per game, and second-leading scorer, averaging 12.4 points per game, finished with four points and five rebounds.
The Rams had seen their lead cut to 40-35.
Karl Cochran scored the first five points of the second half to get the Terriers within 38-33 and 40-35, but Rob Brandenberg's driving basket sparked the 14-5 surge. Lewis added four points, Graham hit three free throws and Melvin Johnson finished it off with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 10:36 to go.
Cochran led the Terriers (3-7) with 17 points, but Wofford turned the ball over 20 times against VCU's steady pressure, and the Rams turned the takeaways into 18 points. The Terriers also were outscored 25-10 from the free throw line as VCU attempted 34 free throws and the Terriers just 14.
Wofford closed to 64-56 with about three minutes to go, but Lewis scored on a drive again, pushing the margin back into double figures, and the Rams held on to remain unbeaten in six home games this season.
Graham scored 11 as VCU raced out to a 21-11 lead, and after the Terriers closed to within 26-20, the Rams got 3-pointers from Brandenberg and Jarred Guest in a 9-0 bust that boosted their lead to 35-20.
The Terriers closed the half on an 8-3 run to get within 38-28 at halftime.
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