Price leads La Salle past No. 20 VCU in 2OTs
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — La Salle coach John Giannini thought it was time a bounce went his team’s way against VCU.
It did at the end of regulation Wednesday night, and when Jordan Price made a 3-pointer for his first points in nearly 13 minutes, and then No. 20 VCU failed to score, the Explorers had a break they needed in a 74-69 double-overtime victory.
Price, a transfer from Auburn who sat out last season, was far from done on a night when he finished with 34 points, including 12 in the second overtime. He also grabbed 18 rebounds and had five assists while playing 48 of 50 minutes.
“He was absolutely terrific,” Giannini said of the 6-foot-5 redshirt sophomore, who made 10 of 22 shots, including half of his 10 3-point tries. “His rebounding was huge and he made gigantic shots.”
The Explorers (14-10, 6-5 Atlantic 10) handed VCU just its third home loss in 32 games, and avenged a double-overtime loss last year on their home floor against the Rams.
In that game, VCU’s Treveon Graham scored a career-best 34 points. In this one, Graham watched from the bench with a high ankle sprain for the second game in a row, both narrow losses.
“They were a little bit luckier last year and we were a little bit luckier this year,” Giannini said.
Price hit the tying 3-pointer with 29 seconds left in regulation, and when Melvin Johnson’s driving shot missed for the Rams and a tip-in try at the buzzer also missed, it forced overtime. Price did nothing in the first extra period, then took over.
JeQuan Lewis, who replaced Briante Weber as VCU’s point guard when Weber was lost for the season with a major knee injury three games ago, scored a career-high 26 points. He had 14 of his team’s 15 in the two overtimes for the Rams.
“They got a long rebound, tipped it out to him and he got an open look and he knocked it down,” Lewis said of Price’s shot to force the overtime. It was his first basket since another 3-pointer with 13:20 to play.
Melvin Johnson added 13 points for the Rams (18-6, 8-3), but VCU shot just 30 percent.
In the second extra period, Price hit a 3-pointer and scored on a drive, then followed a free throw by Lewis with one of his own, giving the Explorers a 68-63 lead.
A free throw by Justin Tillman and Lewis’ 17-footer pulled VCU to 68-66 with 1:48 to play, but Price was 6 for 6 at the line the rest of the way and the Rams couldn’t catch up.
In the first overtime, D.J. Peterson and Wright scored inside to give the Explorers a 58-54 lead, but Lewis hit a runner in heavy traffic and then made a pair of free throws after getting clipped on a drive with the shot clock winding down.
Baskets by Roberts and Amar Stukes briefly gave La Salle two-point leads, but each time, Lewis tied it from the line.
VCU led 54-51 after two free throws by Johnson with 3:35 to play in regulation, and neither team scored again until Roberts’ miss was tapped out and found its way to Price to the right of the key with 29 seconds to go.
The Rams played for a final shot by Johnson, but it missed and a tip that didn’t fall likely wouldn’t have counted.
La Salle: The Explorers had just six turnovers at halftime and finished with 17; VCU causes an average of 17 per game. ... Price, who scored 30 in his last game against Massachusetts, has had four 30-point games this season.
VCU: The Rams made nine 3-pointers in their 73-71 loss at Saint Bonaventure, but were 0 for 8 in the first half against La Salle. They finished 3 for 23. ... Mo Alie-Cox had eight points, nine rebounds and five blocks before cramps in the overtime.
VCU will need its four freshmen to help with the scoring load in Graham’s absence, but they struggled Wednesday night. Justin Tillman started and was 1 for 6, Terry Larrier was 2 for 9, Jonathan Williams was 0 for 2 and Michael Gilmore was 0 for 2.
La Salle is at home against Davidson on Saturday.
VCU plays at George Washington on Saturday afternoon.
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