by Matt Lincoln
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Two days ago VCU won one of its most emotional games of the season - defeating Old Dominion by nine. Thursday, the Rams host the team they are tied with at the top of the league. Monday night, they played a team with ZERO conference wins. That defines what a trap game is, and the Rams barely avoided getting stuck.
Joey Rodriguez scored 18 of his career-high 28 points in the second half as VCU barely held on to beat last-place Towson 80-76 Monday night.
The Rams (16-5, 8-1 Colonial Athletic Association) remained tied with Hofstra for first place in the conference, heading into Thursday's head-to-head matchup, by winning their seventh in a row.
They are 17-1 against Towson all-time. Rodriguez made a career-high six 3-pointers as the Rams went 11 of 25 from beyond the arc. But it was his layup with 35.3 seconds left, that gave VCU a 77-74 lead after nine ties and 17 lead changes.
Towson (4-15, 0-9), led by Braxton Dupree's 22 points, shot 52.7 percent from the field (29 of 55) to stay close. The Tigers had a chance to take the lead with 1:03 left, but Dre Conner committed a turnover. Rodriguez's layup followed.
Ed Nixon made 3 of 4 free throws in the final 19 seconds to keep Towson at bay.
VCU hosts Hofstra for sole leadership in the conference Thursday at 7pm.