RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Hason Ward’s layup with 25 seconds left gave VCU the lead for good as the Rams held off the St. Peter’s Peacocks, 57-54, in their season opener at the Siegel Center.

“We made some great plays in the second half to win the game,” VCU coach Mike Rhoades said. “I’m glad we’re 1-0. We’ve got to play better than we did tonight, but credit to St. Peter’s.”

VCU led by as many as 17 points in the first half and 31-23 at the break, but the Peacocks fought back to go up 54-53 with 1:59 left on a layup by KC Ndefo, who scored 10 points in the game.

But Ward put back a missed Vince Williams shot for two of his team-leading 14 points and Williams made two free throws with two seconds left to ice the victory.

“Really proud of some of our guys down the stretch and just playing the right way and playing hard to find a way to help your team win,” Rhoades said. “We’ll take it.”

Keshawn Curry added 12 points for VCU, while Doug Edert scored a game-high 17 for St. Peter’s.

“We’ve lost some dogfights like this before and this will be a game that we can really improve from,” Rhoades said.

The game was not a sellout, breaking a streak of 166 games at the Siegel Center that dated back to January 29, 2011.