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Winthrop (2-0) at (14) Virginia Commonwealth (2-0)



Saturday, November 16, 7 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor

FACTS & STATS: Site: Siegel Center (7,617) -- Richmond, Virginia. Television: CSN+. Home Record: Winthrop 2-0, VCU 1-0. Away Record: Winthrop 0-0, VCU 1-0. Neutral Record: Winthrop 0-0, VCU 0-0. Conference Record: Winthrop 0-0, VCU 0-0. Series Record: VCU leads, 2-0.

GAME NOTES: The 14th-ranked Virginia Commonwealth Rams take aim at a third straight win to open the 2013-14 campaign, as they play host to the Winthrop Eagles on Saturday evening.

Shaka Smart's Rams have already served notice that they are once again going to be one of the top mid-major programs in the nation. VCU has opened the year with back-to-back victories, showing offensive proficiency in a rout of Illinois State (96-58) and then defensive tenacity in a hard-fought road win over nationally-ranked Virginia (59-56).

Winthrop comes into this contest without a blemish on its record as well. The Eagles have opened with a pair of wins at home, topping Roanoke College (93-74) and USC Upstate (82-74). It is the first time the team has opened a year with two straight wins since the 2009-10 season and the most points scored in its first two games since 1999-2000. Pat Kelsey's squad is looking to improve on last year's 14-17 overall record and compete for the Big South Conference crown this time around.

This is just the third meeting between these two teams. VCU has won both prior matchups, including a 90-54 lopsided affair a year ago.

Offense hasn't been a problem for the Eagles this season, as the team has eclipsed 80 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 2007. It has been a balanced attack thus far, with five players making significant contributions. Joab Jerome leads the way at 16.0 ppg, followed closely by Andre Smith (15.5 ppg) and Keon Johnson (14.0 ppg). Christian Farmer (12.0 ppg) and Tevin Prescott (10.5 ppg) have been strong off the bench.

Smith led the charge in Winthrop's last win over USC Upstate, hitting four 3- pointers en route to 21 points. Jerome wasn't far behind with 19 points, while Prescott provided 10 in 18 minutes off the bench.

Treveon Graham's late game heroics lifted the Rams to a big win in Charlottesville, as his 3-pointer with just 1.4 seconds left proved to be the difference for VCU. The Rams beat the Cavaliers at their own game, holding the home team under 40 percent shooting, while forcing 19 turnovers. It wasn't a surprise that Smart looked to Graham at the end of the game, as he was on point all game long, finishing with a game-high 22 points, on 8-of-15 shooting. Juvonte Reddic finished second on the team in scoring at nine points, while Rob Brandenberg chipped in with seven.

It was a completely different scenario in the win over Illinois State, as VCU connected on a healthy 55.4 percent from the floor, as five Rams notched double figures. Graham and Terrance Shannon led the way with 14 points, followed by Reddic (13 pts), Brandenberg (12 pts) and Melvin Johnson (11 pts).

The Rams can win games in various ways and that will serve them well the rest of the season. Winthrop has shown some offensive strength in the early going, but it won't be enough on the road against a legitimate Top 25 team.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Commonwealth 76, Winthrop 60

11/16 10:43:03 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 3
DUR 5
 
Final
PIT 0
CAR 10
 
5:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
7:35pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
Final
CIN 7
CHC 2
Final
DET 3
NYY 2
Final
SFG 4
COL 1
Final
BAL 5
TAM 4
Final
NYM 1
ATL 6
Final
CWS 2
CLE 3
Final
KAN 5
MIN 11
Final
HOU 4
TEX 2
Final
ANA 4
OAK 3
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
CIN
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
MIN
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
BOS
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
PHI
 
7:35pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
 
8:10pm Tonight
KAN
CLE
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
DET
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
TEX
 
8:15pm Tonight
STL
CHC
 
9:40pm Tonight
ARI
COL
 
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
LOS
 
10:10pm Tonight
SEA
WAS
 
10:15pm Tonight
SFG
MIL
 
Final
SCAR 28
TEXAM 52
Final
LAMON 17
WAKE 10
Final
MISS 35
BSU 13
Final
TULSA 38
TULA 31
Final
WASU 38
RUTG 41
Final
ARST 45
WEBER 14
Final
VANDY 7
TEMPL 37
7:00pm Tonight
UCONN
BYU
7:30pm Tonight
WKENT
BGU
7:30pm Tonight
MSU
JVST
9:00pm Tonight
COL
COLST
9:00pm Tonight
HOU
TXSANANTO
10:30pm Tonight
ARZ
UNLV
Final
JAC 14
ATL 24
 
Final
BUF 0
DET 23
 
Final
CIN 35
IND 7
 
Final
GBP 34
KAN 14
 
Final
PHI 37
NYJ 7
 
Final
MIA 14
STL 13
 
Final
PIT 0
CAR 10
 
Final
NYG 16
NEP 13
 
Final
TAM 10
WAS 24
 
Final
NOS 13
BAL 22
 
Final
CLE 33
CHI 13
 
Final
DAL 3
DEN 27
 
Final
TEN 3
MIN 19
 
Final
HOU 13
SFX 40
 
Final
SDC 12
ARI 9
 
Final
OAK 41
SEA 31
 
Final
NOR 3
DUR 5
 
5:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
7:35pm Tonight
NOR
DUR