VCU claws back to nip Saint Louis in overtime thriller

VCU claws back to nip Saint Louis in overtime thriller

ST. LOUIS, MO (WWBT) - - Justin Tillman scored 25 points and pulled down 12 rebounds and VCU overcame a 13 point second half deficit to down Saint Louis in overtime, 75-74.

The Rams looked sluggish coming out of the gate, unable to take the lead early and trailing by as many as eleven in the first half, but Tillman's jumper with 1:32 to play in the frame trimmed the score to 29-24, which would be the halftime count.

The second half saw the Billikens swell their lead to 13 with 12:27 to play, but VCU would chip away. De'Riante Jenkins' steal led to an Issac Vann lay-up with 5:10 to play, which cut the lead to 55-52. Then, with Saint Louis up 57-52, Jenkins connected on a three pointer to pull VCU to within two points. Jonathan Williams would tie the game at 57 a short time later with a lay-up.

Free throws would see the Billikens open up a 61-58 lead with 15 seconds to play, but a missed foul shot by Javon Bess gave the Rams life, and Jenkins made Saint Louis pay, knocking down a triple with three seconds left, and sending the game to overtime.

VCU would heat up in the extra session. Tillman scored four of the Rams' first six points in the frame, as VCU opened up a 69-65 lead. A Saint Louis three-point play would pull the home team to within one, but Mike'l Simms responded with a big shot of his own. Simms grabbed a rebound and connected on a shot in the paint, drawing the foul, and converting on the free throw to give VCU the 72-68 advantage. Williams would hit the final two free throws in the finals seconds to slam the door, though the Billikens did hit a meaningless three pointer at the buzzer to make it a one-point game.

Khris Lane, Vann, and Jenkins all chipped in ten points, backing up Tillman's tenth double-double of the season. Simms scored nine points and pulled down seven rebounds.

The Rams escaped with the victory despite losing the rebounding battle, 48-31. After a poor shooting first half (35.7 percent), VCU bounced back and shot 53.6 percent in the second half and overtime to fuel the comeback.

VCU improved to 2-2 in conference road games and has now won seven straight games in its series with Saint Louis. The Rams are now 13-8, 5-3 in the Atlantic 10, and will travel to George Mason on Saturday.

Copyright 2018 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.