by Matt Lincoln
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Virginia Union kept it close for half of the first half. But then the U.S. Army Downtown Showdown grew incredibly one-sided. VCU comfortably defeated Union 71-56 in the Rams final exhibition game.
Virginia Commonwealth University held on to a single digit lead throughout the game's first twelve minutes. The Panthers were within four points at 18-14 with eight minutes left before the Rams took control of the game for the rest of the night.
After the eight minute mark, the VCU offense would explode on their way to a 41-19 halftime lead. VCU wouldn't surrender the lead in the second half, despite several runs by the Panthers cutting the lead to as low as ten. The Rams continued their offensive balance to finish the game. Three players would lead the Rams in scoring at ten points apiece. Highland Springs product Brandon Rozzell, Jamie Skeen and Rob Brandenberg shared the scoring load for the game for VCU, with Skeen also grabbing a team-high eight rebounds. Midlothian native Bradford Burgess poured in eight for the Rams. Virginia Union was led by Thomas Dale product Braxton Byerson with a game-high 18 points.
The Rams kick off their season for real next Friday at home against UNC-Greensboro. The Panthers start their season on November 27th against California (PA).