RICHMOND, VA (WWBT/AP) - Terry Larrier is entering that period in his freshmen season when coaches and teammates are fond of saying that freshmen aren't freshmen any more, but rather first-year players who should be starting to figure things out.
Consider him on schedule.
Larrier had 15 points, four rebounds, two assists, a steal and no turnovers in 22 minutes Tuesday night, leading No. 14 VCU to a 72-48 victory against George Washington in what was expected to be the Rams toughest conference test to date.
"I'm a freshman. I'm just comfortable now," Larrier, a four-star recruit from the Bronx in New York, said, after his best scoring game in conference play. "I'm used to the flow of the game. I'm used to the physicality now. I'm just comfortable."
Larrier had 11 points in the first half, when the Rams struggled to get going, including six in a half-ending 12-2 run that gave them a working margin of 29-21. He added a 3-pointer and a free throw in a decisive 16-2 burst early in the second half.
The Rams (17-3, 7-0 Atlantic 10) have won 12 in a row and remain the only unbeaten team in the league.
The second-half burst was sparked by VCU's defense, which was far sharper after the intermission than before.
"In the first half, we kind of let them off the hook," said JeQuan Lewis, who scored 13 for VCU and had three steals. "We just all put defense in the front of our minds and got what we wanted. ... We knew once we got our style of play going, which is pressing, we would start hitting our shots."
Kethan Savage scored 18 to lead George Washington (16-5, 6-2) and Joe McDonald had 11, but coach Mike Lonergan, whose team led 19-17 before the Rams took charge to end the first half, was disappointed that they never made a game of it.
"I thought we played awful," he said, pausing to credit VCU's defense, but only partially. "We didn't share the ball, we took bad shots, we missed good shots and a lot of our turnovers weren't even on defense but just from being undisciplined."
The Colonials turned it over 16 times, and made only 14 field goals.
The game was the Rams' first at home in 17 days, and once their pressure started getting to the Colonials, leading to runout baskets and a fast-growing lead, the outcome was determined and the crowd whipped into a welcome home frenzy.
"I think they were ready to come home and prove a point and blow somebody out," Lonergan said.
The Colonials' inability to make shots from close range also was a huge factor. They made just one field goal in the final 10:50 of the first half, and were 2 for 21 in the second half until they made three meaningless buckets in the closing minutes.
Mo Alie-Cox finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, and had perhaps the play of the game with a steal at midcourt and a two-handed dunk. But after jamming the ball in, he landed funny and essentially belly-flopped onto the hardwood.
"My hands were sweaty, and they slipped when I tried to grab the rim," he said.