RICHMOND, Va. - Regular-season champion VCU established a double-figure lead in the first half en route to defeating Saint Joseph’s, 75-63, in the regular-season finale for both teams in front of a sellout crowd at the Siegel Center.
The Hawks now await the results of the final Atlantic 10 games on Saturday to determine their seeding for the A-10 Championship, which runs from March 13-17 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Saint Joseph’s (13-18; 6-12) came within seven points, 60-53, with over six minutes to play, but VCU (25-6; 16-2) answered with four straight to regain the double-digit lead, 64-53.
Charlie Brown, Jr., had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Lamarr Kimble added 15 points for the Hawks. Chris Clover and Jared Bynum each chipped in 10 points, with Bynum adding five assists.
Marcus Evans led VCU with 23 points, including the first 10 of VCU’s points in the second half as the Rams took at 51-39 lead. VCU then matched its biggest lead of the game, 59-44, at 11:33.
SJU used a 9-1 run, paced by six points from Brown, to pull within 60-53 with under seven minutes to play, but VCU answered with four straight to get back to the double-digit lead, 64-53.
In the first half, Saint Joseph’s held a brief 12-11 lead but VCU scored the next eight points to start a 20-7 run which gave them a 31-19 lead with over five minutes left in the half.
Brown went to the bench with his second foul with over 12 minutes to play in the first half and re-entered the game with under three minutes left and the Hawks trailing by their biggest margin of the half, 39-26.
SJU ended the half with five straight points to cut the deficit to 41-33 at intermission.
The Hawks converted 39 percent from the field and were 8-of-25 from three-point range in the game, while committing 11 turnovers.
“I give the players a lot of credit for the preparation, especially coming off a really difficult loss to Rhode Island. Communication was tougher so we have to think about that going into Brooklyn. We had some misses on assignments and the turnovers were fatigue turnovers. We should’ve come out of that game with six turnovers instead of 11 and given ourselves five more shots. It’s always numeric – they had 14 fast-break points and we had two,” said head coach Phil Martelli.