PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) -- Treveon Graham scored 26 points and Rob Brandenberg added 15, including two late 3-pointers, and VCU beat No. 19 Memphis 78-65 on Thursday night In the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
The Rams used their frenetic style of play to take a 16-point lead in the first half only to see the Tigers pull to 63-61 with 4:05 to play. VCU then went on an 11-0 run with all the points scored by Graham and Brandenberg. Brandenberg hit two 3s in the run and Graham one as the Rams finished 13 for 22 from behind the arc.
VCU ( 3-1) will meet No. 5 Duke in Friday's semifinals. The Blue Devils beat Minnesota 89-71.
Adonis Thomas had 19 points for the Tigers (2-1), who committed 22 turnovers that the Rams turned into 33 points.
The Rams weren't perfect, committing 19 turnovers that Memphis turned into 23 points.
The difference turned out to be 3-point shooting. Memphis outshot VCU from the field making 27 of 51 (52.9 percent) while the Rams were 26 of 54 (48.1 percent).
While the Rams were making 13 of 22 from beyond the arc, the Tigers only made 2 of 7.
Memphis trailed 42-28 at halftime and managed to get within three points four times before making it a two-point game.
Graham started the deciding run with a rebound basket and Brandenberg hit 3s on the next two possessions and Graham added another to make it 74-61 with 1:20 to play.
VCU calls its style "havoc" and coming into the game the Rams had forced 19.7 turnovers per game while leading the nation with 14.1 steals per game. The Rams had 14 against Memphis.
Memphis started a lineup of all city natives for the third time this season. The Tigers are now 134-42 all-time with that type of lineup.
Juco transfer named Hokies' starting quarterback for opener
Juco transfer named Hokies' starting quarterback for opener
In his first game with the Virginia Tech Hokies, Jerod Evans will be leading the team as the starting quarterback, head coach Justin Fuente announced on Thursday. The quarterback competition started as a two-man race between Evans and fifth-year senior Brenden Motley before a late surge by true freshman Josh Jackson turned it into a three-way battle. In the end, however, the decision was no surprise.
Evans, a junior transfer, began his college career at Air Force in 2013. He transferred to Trinity Valley Community College where he developed into a dynamic talent. In 2015, Evans threw for 395.5 yards per game and 38 touchdowns in just eight games before a wrist injury ended his season.
Rated as the No. 1 dual-threat JUCO quarterback in the country, Evans was recruited by Fuente while he was still at Memphis and chose to follow the head coach to Blacksburg.
New coaches are rarely afforded the opportunity of starting their own recruit in their first season at a new school. Given that and the high potential of Evans as a playmaker, it was ultimately no surprise to hear Fuente peg him as the starter.
The announcement came with one caveat, however. Evans was named the starter specifically for the opener against Liberty, but not beyond that. Granted, Evans would have to play pretty poorly to force Fuente into switching starters the week before the Battle at Bristol against Tennessee, but an opener against an FCS team should allow for Fuente to play multiple quarterbacks. If Motley outplays Evans, perhaps it could reignite the quarterback battle.
Even so, Thursday's announcement shows the starting job is now Evans to lose.
When Virginia opens the season on Sept. 3 against Richmond, they will have a new quarterback starting under center. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall named junior transfer Kurt Benkert the starting quarterback on Wednesday morning over seniors Matt Johns and Connor Brewer, according to multiple reports.
Benkert was expected to start for ECU just last season, but a knee injury in preseason forced him to miss the entire year. He is considered the most mobile of the three, which given Mendenhall's history with dual-threat quarterbacks, likely was a major factor in the head coach's decision.
As a junior, Benkert was the only candidate with two years of eligibility remaining, a prospect hat reportedly "intrigued" Mendenhall. If Benkert is able to hold on to the position and start next season as well, it would represent a measure of stability Virginia has not known for quite some time.
Overall, UVA has had same Wk 1 starter in back-to-back years just once since 2005… Benkert is 10th diff Wk 1 starter during that stretch.
What likely helped Benkert was the fact that his head coach at ECU, Ruffin McNeill, is now an assistant as UVa. By coming into a school with an offensive system Benkert was familiar with, it eliminated the learning curve most transfers go through with their new teams.
Benkert will replace Johns who was the team's starter last season and co-starter the season before. The fact that the competition was a three-man race at this point in the summer despite Johns' experience was a clear indication that his ability to win back the starting job was in clear jeopardy.
In addition, Mendenhall also announced Johns and Brewer were still competing for the backup role.
The famous Hokie Stone was the inspiration for the look. The Hokies Stone is a type of rock found in Western Virginia almost exclusively in a nearby quarry owned by the school. It has become an iconic symbol of the school as several building on campus were built from the stone. Players will tap a Hokie Stone that hangs over the tunnel as they enter Lane Stadium during the football season.
The uniform's primary color scheme of black and grey pays homage to the team's history as those were the official colors of Virginia Tech before the school adopted the classic burnt orange and Chicago maroon we recognize today. The color grey was also chosen because it is a prominent color of the Corps of Cadets, according to a statement on the school's athletics website.
And boy do they look sharp. What do you think? Be sure to let us know!
The Battle at Bristol against Tennessee will take place on Sept. 10 at Bristol Motor Speedway.