Va. Commonwealth 66, Jackson St. 48
NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Sherman Hamilton and Ivan Chappell scored 13 points each Wednesday to lead Virginia Commonwealth to a 66-48 victory over Jackson State in the first round of the UNO Christmas Classic.
New Orleans and San Francisco met in the second game.
The Rams (7-5) never trailed, jumping out to a 20-4 lead in the first 10 minutes and taking a 35-21 halftime lead. Hamilton got 10 of his 13 points during the first half. Bernard Hopkins had 11 points and nine rebounds for the evening.
Roderick Taylor scored 15 points for Jackson State (3-7) and Trent Pulliam had 13 points and nine rebounds. Titus Hooten, the Tigers’ leading scorer, had a season low eight points.
VCU outshot Jackson State 54 percent to 31 percent from the field.
Jackson State used a 17-4 run in the second half to close a 50-30 deficit to 54-47 with 4:41 left, but the Rams scored the next six points, including three free throws by George Bird.
The victory was the 299th for VCU coach Sonny Smith. He is 299-268 over 20 seasons, and 96-91 in his seven years at VCU.
The 48 points is a season low for Jackson, whose previous low was 61 against Southern Mississippi earlier this month.