Santos-Silva powers No. 25 VCU to season opening victory

Santos-Silva powers No. 25 VCU to season opening victory
VCU's Marcus Santos-Silva reacts after scoring a late basket during the Rams' 72-58 win over St. Francis on November 5, 2019. (Source: WWBT NBC12)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Junior forward Marcus Santos-Silva scored 21 points and pulled down 18 rebounds, pacing No. 25 VCU to a 72-58 victory over St. Francis to open its 2019-2020 season on Tuesday night at the Siegel Center. It marks just the third time in school history that the Rams have opened a campaign ranked in the top 25.

Santos-Silva shot 8-for-11 from the floor and scored 13 points in the second half, as VCU won its 14th consecutive season opener.

The game did not come without some sloppiness. The Rams committed 18 turnovers and went cold from the floor during a 12-1 St. Francis run in the second half that trimmed the VCU lead to 52-42. Still, a 23-5 first half spurt had opened up enough cushion for the black and gold, who led 36-22 at the break.

“We got the jitters out, we got the first game out of the way, we’re 1-0, and we’ve got to improve and get better because we play a lot of good teams coming up,” head coach Mike Rhoades said following the win. “I’m proud of our guys. I thought some guys stepped up throughout the game. There are certain things we’ve got to get better at, but that’s why you play the game and we’ll review the tape and be ready to go on Friday."

“It’s just about getting out there and playing hard,” added senior guard Marcus Evans. “Obviously those things will clean up as the season goes on. We’re not going to predict the whole season off of one thing, but it’s something to build off of.”

De’Riante Jenkins scored 16 points while Evans added 12 points in the victory.

Tuesday marked the first of six straight home games to open the season for VCU. The Rams host North Texas on Friday at 7:00pm.

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