Daniels, Graham lead VCU past Xavier
Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Troy Daniels and Treveon Graham helped VCU overcome a 17-point second half deficit as the No. 24 Rams handed Xavier a rare conference loss at home with a 75-71 victory Saturday at Cintas Center.
Daniels scored 14 of his 19 points after halftime and Graham added 17 for the game as VCU (22-6, 10-3 A-10) outscored Xavier 49-32 over the final 20 minutes to bounce back after a loss to Saint Louis on Tuesday.
Rob Brandenberg added 18 points and Juvonte Reddic totaled 10 with nine rebounds in the victory, which moved the Rams into sole possession of second place in the conference after Butler fell to the Atlantic 10-leading Billikens on Friday.
The Musketeers (15-11, 8-5) had 22 turnovers in suffering just their second home defeat to a conference foe since 2007. Semaj Christon had 10 of those giveaways while scoring 11 points along with Justin Martin and Isaiah Philmore.
Dee Davis and Brad Redford paced Xavier with 15 points apiece in the setback.
Xavier jumped out to a 39-26 lead at the half and VCU trailed by as many as 17 points in the early moments of the second stanza, but Daniels and Graham led a 24-5 surge that rallied the Rams to a 50-48 advantage.
Daniels began the run with consecutive triples and after making a layup, Graham added a 3-pointer to tie the contest at 48-48. Teddy Okereafor's bucket with just under 11 minutes left to play then put the Rams ahead and erased VCU's double-digit deficit.
From there, the advantage changed hands eight times, with Xavier leading by as many as three before surrendering the lead for good down the stretch.
Redford made four of his five 3-pointers in the second half, with his last two both helping Xavier to regain a 63-61 advantage, but it was Daniels whose timely triples proved to be difference.
Daniels immediately responded to Redford's last 3-pointer with one of his own to stake VCU to a 64-63 edge with 5:17 left. He then buried another triple a little over a minute later to expand the lead to four, and the Musketeers never went back in front.
Trailing by three in the final minute, Xavier had three possessions to cut into the lead, but were unsuccessful on each opportunity. Brandenberg then sank a pair of free throws with 26 seconds left to move VCU's edge to 73-68 and all but seal the win.
The Musketeers shot a scorching 73.7 percent in the first half, and a 13-3 surge capped by back-to-back 3-pointers from Redford and Davis gave Xavier a 28-14 lead almost 15 minutes into the contest.
The Rams struggled offensively throughout the initial stanza, converting just 30.3 percent (10-for-33) of their attempts from the field and trailing by 13 at the break on Davis' 3-point play at the end of the half.
Xavier had won 52 of its last 53 home games against conference opponents coming in ... VCU held the Musketeers to 39.1 percent shooting over the final 20 minutes ... The Rams shot 53.1 percent in the second half, while shooting 6-for-11 from 3-point range ... VCU scored 23 points off Xavier's 22 turnovers.
02/23 17:31:04 ET