ANNAPOLIS, MD (WWBT) - Melvin Johnson scored 23 points, 20 of them in the first half, as VCU rolled to an 85-69 win over Tennessee to open its season. It marks the Rams' ninth straight season opening win, six of them under Shaka Smart.
The Rams and Volunteers traded baskets early on, but with the score tied at 14, Johnson rattled off eight straight points, including two three pointers, to open up the lead for VCU. The Rams would surge and go into the locker room up 48-30 at the break. Tennessee would pull to within eight with six minutes to play, but another late run by VCU slammed the door.
Treveon Graham added 15 points for VCU, despite shooting just 3-of-13 from the floor. Terry Larrier chipped in eleven points in his collegiate debut. Jordan Burgess rounded out the Rams in double figures with ten.
JeQuan Lewis suffered a concussion late in the first half when his head the the floor fighting for a rebound. He'll be evaluated over the weekend.
VCU hits the floor at the Siegel Center for its home opener on Tuesday, as the Rams tip off with Toledo at 7:00pm.