UR falls to Longwood in opener
VCU takes down Hampton
To VCU coach Mike Rhoades, sophomore forward Marcus Santos-Silva has skill and ability to score.
In addition to those qualities, Santos-Silva plays harder than everybody else, Rhoades said.
On Friday, in VCU’s
69-57 victory over visiting Hampton, Santos-Silva led the Rams with a careerhigh 16 points and added four rebounds.
The performance came in a tad over 15½ minutes on the floor. Santos-Silva helped VCU (2-0) stave off a late run by Hampton (1-1) with 6 of his points in the final 3:19.
“It was just a team effort,” Santos-Silva said. “My teammates were giving me the ball, and I was doing anything to help the team win. And it was just an overall great effort from all of us.”
Though Santos-Silva led, the Rams scored by committee for most of the game. Junior guard Marcus Evans
added 13 points, and junior forward Issac Vann and sophomore forward Sean Mobley had 7 apiece.
“This year ... we call it a whole army,” Evans said. “We can go really deep, whether guys get in foul trouble or just having an off night.”
Evans played 18:34 on Friday, up from the 9:18 he played in Tuesday’s season opener. He’s still on limited minutes coming off his June Achilles injury.
Junior guard De’Riante Jenkins, the Rams’ leading returning scorer at
12.9 points a game, did not play Friday because of a heel bruise. He’s day-to-day.
Junior guard Mike’L Simms (Highland Springs), who is known for the spark he brings off the bench, got his first career start in Jenkins’ absence. He finished with 5 points.
Rhoades, overall, liked how the Rams came out and guarded.
Hampton finished just 18 of 62 from the field (29 percent).
“Pressing and in the half court,” Rhoades said. “We were real active, did a great job helping each other.”
Hampton had a particularly cold first half. At one point, the Pirates had a 1-for-15 stretch from the field.
They shot 20 percent overall before the break (8 for 40).
The Rams put together an 11-0 run, starting 6½ minutes in, that allowed them to start pulling away. The run began with a 3-pointer by freshman point guard P.J. Byrd, the first basket of his career.
Santos-Silva then followed
scored a career-best 16 points in the win over Hampton. a layup with a steal and a fast-break dunk.
After that, freshman Vince Williams’ layup pushed the Rams’ lead to 20-8 with 11:48 to play in the half.
In the second half, Hampton junior guard Jermaine Marrow caught fire. Starting with a jumper at the 8:19 mark, Marrow put together a personal 14-0 run.
Senior guard Kalin Fisher added three free throws at 4:06 to push the Pirates’ run to 17-0, and cut VCU’s lead to 57-50.
But Evans then halted the run with a 3, and Santos-Silva followed with a dunk. He also added a pair of late layups.
Marrow finished with a game-high 25 points for the Pirates, but no other Hampton player finished in double digits.
Friday’s game was part of the Legends Classic Richmond Regional. VCU will play another Legends Classic regional game on Monday, at home against Bowling Green.
“I’m glad we won the last two. But there’s a lot to learn,” Rhoades said. “There’s a lot to learn to play with a lead. And our upperclassmen got to put it away, and our young guys got to help them put it away.”
VCU’s Corey Douglas covers up the ball amid flying Hampton defenders. Douglas finished with 4 points. Marcus Santos-Silva led the Rams in scoring with 16 points.
VCU 69, HAMPTON 57Monday: Bowling Green at VCU, 7 p.m., MASN
Mike’L Simms, a former Highland Springs standout, eyes the hoop as Hampton’s Dondre Griffin defends. Simms finished with 5 points in the Rams’ 69-57 victory.