RICHMOND — Juvonte Reddic jumped high in the air toward the basket, seemed to reach to the rafters to catch Darius Theus’ too-high alley-oop pass, somehow caught it with one hand and slammed it home, bringing the Siegel Center to a roar.
The game was only 62 seconds old, and Reddic was just getting started.
The junior forward scored a season-high 24 points and Virginia Commonwealth blitzed George Washington with an 18-6 run to close the first half, then never let the Colonials closer than 12 thereafter in a 84-57 victory Saturday night.
“I was in a good mood, a good comfort zone,” Reddic said after finishing 11 of 13 from the field with 10 rebounds.
And his teammates were more than happy to let him do his thing.
“It’s great,” Troy Daniels said of seeing Reddic have a big night. “He’s a great player. It’s just fun to watch him and get him the ball. That’s our main focus going into the game.”
Daniels, Rob Brandenburg and Melvin Johnson added 11 points each as the Rams (21-5, 9-2 Atlantic 10 Conference) won their fifth straight and second game in a span of less than 50 hours. They beat Massachusetts 86-68 late Thursday night, but showed no signs of fatigue, shooting 53.3 percent (32 of 60) against the young Colonials.
“If we’re tired, we think the other team is more tired,” Daniels said. “We’ve learned how to push through that.”
George Washington (11-12, 5-5), playing for the first time in a week, got 10 points each from freshmen Kevin Larsen and Patricio Garino, but matched its season high with 25 turnovers and VCU piled up 19 steals, one shy of its season high.
The Rams turned the giveaways into 27 points and held the Colonials to 38.9 percent shooting (21 of 54).
The Rams, who played perhaps their most complete game of the season in the rout of Massachusetts, fell behind 8-2, then finished the half on a 40-16 run, getting 13 of their steals by halftime and scoring on five 3-pointers and five dunks.
“When we cut it to 21-18, I thought we had settled down,” Colonials coach Mike Lonergan said. “And then all of a sudden our guards started turning the ball over. That run at the end of the first half killed us. The game was essentially over.”
Reddic was 6 for 6 in the half and scored 12.
Trailing 42-24 at halftime, the Colonials scored six of the first nine points after halftime, but Reddic scored in the lane and Johnson hit a 3-pointer to boost the lead to 50-30. When the Colonials made one final push, using a 10-4 run to pull within 63-51 with 9:41 to play, Daniels made a steal and dunk, and Briante Webber hit 3 of 4 free throws. A basket by Garino stopped the burst, but Reddic then scored on consecutive putbacks, the Rams’ lead was 72-53 and they coasted to the finish.
The game kept VCU in first place in the league, but with a difficult week ahead. The Rams play at second-place Saint Louis on Tuesday night, then travel to Xavier next Saturday.
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