Score: VCU 87, Gardner-Webb 73
Location: Richmond, Va. (Stuart C. Siegel Center)
Records: VCU 8-5, Gardner-Webb 5-10
The short story: Graduate wing Sean Bairstow dropped in a career-high 22 points and VCU shot 62 percent in the second half to run past Gardner-Webb Saturday at the Siegel Center.
- Bairstow, playing in his second game as a Ram, showcased a variety of offensive moves on the way to 11-of-18 shooting from the floor. He also hauled in seven rebounds and dished out five assists
- Senior guard Joe Bamisile poured in 21 points off the bench for the Black and Gold. He connected on 7-of-8 attempts at the free throw line
- Junior forward Tobi Lawal made the most of his 15-plus minutes off the bench for the Rams. He recorded 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked three shots
- Senior guard Max Shulga added 17 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block for VCU. He buried 5-of-7 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc
- Quest Aldridge paced five Gardner-Webb players in double figures with 13 points
- VCU converted 21-of-34 attempts from the field in the second half, including 18-of-23 from inside the arc. The Rams outscored the Runnin’ Bulldogs 52-32 in the paint in the game, including 36-14 in the second half alone
- The Rams also outrebounded Gardner-Webb 42-33 and got 39 points from their bench
- Lawal was on the receiving end of several alley-oop dunks and scored eight points during a 16-1 VCU run that turned a six-point halftime lead into a 62-41 blowout with 13:18 remaining. Gardner-Webb trimmed the lead to 10, at 66-56 with 8:20 left, only to watch the Rams erupt for an 11-2 burst, punctuated by a Lawal block that led to a Bamisile 3-pointer and a 77-58 lead with 5:26 showing on the clock
- The Rams shot .507 (35-of-69) from the field in the game and connected on 9-of-10 free throw attempts
- VCU has won a season-high four straight games and improved to 4-0 all-time against Gardner-Webb
- Lawal registered his third double-double of the season
- The Rams have scored 80 or more points in four of their past five games. VCU is averaging 83.0 points, while shooting .481 from the field, in those five contests
VCU will kick off Atlantic 10 Conference play on Jan. 3, 2024 when the Rams host St. Bonaventure at 9 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
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