RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — The VCU Rams Men’s Basketball team emerged victorious from the 88th Capital City Classic on Saturday, narrowly defeating the University of Richmond Spiders 64-62. VCU forward Vince Williams hit the tie-breaking three-pointer with 25 seconds to go, the Spiders made a free throw in the final seconds to get it within two, but couldn’t close it out in the end.
The Rams, now tied for second place in the Atlantic-10 Conference, have planted themselves firmly in position to compete for the conference championship in March.
VCU, fresh off a close win over A-10 leader Davidson on Wednesday, came into the Robins Center this afternoon tied for fourth in the conference at 5-2. Richmond trailed closely behind at 4-3, but have now faltered to 4-4 and seventh in the A-10.
Williams came close to a triple-double, scoring 22 points along with eight assists and ten rebounds. Spiders center Grant Golden scored 18 and had 9 rebounds, and guard Jacob Gilyard scored 14 with six assists and three steals.
VCU had a phenomenal performance on defense in the first half, forcing 11 turnovers including six steals. The Rams are one of the leading teams in the county on the defensive side of the ball, averaging 9.4, 5.3 blocks and 10.4 forced turnovers per game.
Richmond, who were a 3.5 point favorite coming into game, cut the deficit to just three going into halftime, but the beginning of the second half spelled disaster for the Spiders. VCU had a 13-2 run in four minutes and made all five of their opening free throw attempts.
Richmond kept it close the entire second half but never took back the lead, even when starting Rams point guard Ace Baldwin fouled out with 3:17 left to go. Richmond led just over three minutes of the 40-minute game.
VCU has won 22 of their previous 30 games against U of R, and currently lead the series 56-31 since their first matchup in Jan. 1976.