Graham’s 18 lead VCU past Richmond, 56-50

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) Treveon Graham had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Virginia Commonwealth rallied in the second half and outlasted undermanned Richmond 56-50 on Thursday night, sweeping the city rivalry for the season.

Graham was one of four Rams to hit 3-pointers in an 18-3 run that rallied them from a 37-26 deficit to a 44-40 lead, and he added two key free throws with 6 seconds left for VCA (23-7, 11-4 Atlantic 10).

Just before Graham’s final free throws, Kendall Anthony’s tying layup attempt missed and Alonzo Nelson-Ododa missed a wide open tip-in in front of the basket for the Spiders (18-12, 8-7 Atlantic 10).

Anthony led the Spiders with 20 points, but missed 12 of 18 from the field.

The victory pulled VCU into a tie for second in the A-10 with Saint Joseph’s with one game remaining, and was the third loss in a row for Richmond, which has been playing with just seven players.

VCU trailed throughout until JeQuan Lewis’ layup near the end of the 18-3 run gave them their first lead at 42-40 with 8:57 to play. Juvonte Reddic’s basket made it 44-40 to go but the big damage came from outside as Graham, Melvin Johnson, Jordan Burgess and Rob Brandenberg all hit 3-pointers in the spree.

Four free throws by Anthony pulled the Spiders even again at 44, but Moe Alie-Cox scored inside, Johnson hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key and Graham scored three points as VCU finished the game scoring 12 of the last 18 points to avenge a difficult loss at the Robins Center a season ago.

In that game, the Rams blew a 7-point lead in the final 42 seconds of regulation and lost in overtime.

Richmond scored just two points in a span of 7:11 in the first half, and still led 12-8 when Alonzo Nelson-Ododa broke the drought with a dunk because VCU scored just four points and turned the ball over five times during the Spiders’ dry spell. Ododa’s dunk sparked an 11-3 run for Richmond, giving them a 21-11 lead with 5:17 to play. The Rams got six points in an 11-4 burst to close the half trailing 26-22.

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