Playing what junior guard JeQuan Lewis called "the best game we've played as a team", the VCU Rams steamrolled Davidson 76-54 in the A-10 semifinals at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn. Senior transfer Korey Billbury led the Rams with 17 points, but it was a thunderous alley-oop slam from Lewis to Mo Alie-Cox in the second half that punctuated VCU's dominance in this game.
"We played well. It's a credit to our guys" said head coach Will Wade who makes the A-10 championship game in his first season as VCU head coach. "It's a pressure situation in the conference semifinals and we've put together two really good games here."
"It's up there with one of our best games of the season" said Alie-Cox who scored 13 points in the win. "We got out in transition, Mel (Johnson) hit a three, then JeQuan threw me the alley-oop. Little plays like that keep us going. When we're on a roll like that, confidence goes up."
Melvin Johnson scored 9 after making a mid-morning pit stop to a Brooklyn Foot Locker for new sneakers. He had been wearing low tops when he rolled his ankle late in Friday's win over UMass and needed high tops for more support.
VCU also got 11 points from Lewis as nine different players scored. The Rams held 1st team All-A-10 player Jack Gibbs to just 4 points on the night as VCU shot 48 percent from the field, compared to 37 percent for the Wildcats.
Billbury, a senior transfer form Oral Roberts, will be playing in his first championship game of any kind. He played a team high 27 minutes against Davidson and was credited by Wade for allowing the other starters to come out of the game early.
"We feel great for him" Wade said. "He [Billbury] allowed us to keep that lead at a manageable number. This is what he came here for, and to his credit, he's risen to the occasion as a senior."
"[Coach] Wade told me when I came out here that he was going to develop me to be a part of the team. The only expectation I have is to keep winning. It might sink in after we win."
The Rams now head to their sixth straight conference title game, a streak that goes back to their last two seasons in the CAA. They have made the A-10 title game in each of the four years they have been in the league, and Sunday's title game against St. Joseph's will be a rematch of the 2014 title game won by the Hawks. VCU won the only meeting between the two teams back on January 5th.
"They've got good players" Wade said of the Hawks. "We're going to have to crash the boards and try to impose our will a little bit. But they're a very, very good team."
The A-10 title game will be live on CBS 6 at 12:30 Sunday afternoon.