RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Issac Vann scored 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds, pushing VCU to a 69-57 victory over Gardner-Webb in the Rams' season opener on Tuesday night. The win marks VCU’s 13th consecutive victory to open a campaign.
The Runnin' Bulldogs kept things close early on, but Vann’s thunderous dunk to make the score 20-16 in VCU’s favor sparked a 20-6 Rams run to end the first half, as they entered the locker room with a 38-22 halftime lead. Gardner-Webb would trim the lead to eight with 9:24 remaining in the game, but another VCU run slammed the door.
Highland Springs product Mike’l Simms added 12 points to help spark the Rams. He connected on four three-pointers in the first half to account for all of his point.
The game also marked the VCU debut of guard Marcus Evans, a Rice transfer who has recovered from two Achilles tendon tears. Evans saw nine minutes of playing time in his first contest in black and gold, as Mike Rhoades eases him back into action. He contributed nine points and two steals.
VCU forced 21 Bulldog turnovers, but also committed 20 of its own, something Rhoades pointed to during his postgame remarks as an area to improve. They also won the battle of the boards, 42-32.
The Rams return to action on Friday as they host Hampton at the Siegel Center. Tip-off is set for 7:00.