Johnson's 13 lead VCU past Fordham, 76-60

HANK KURZ Jr. (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated PressJanuary 30, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Melvin Johnson scored 13 points and Juvonte Reddic had 10 points and 10 rebounds Wednesday night as Virginia Commonwealth took control by halftime and beat Fordham 76-60 for its 15th consecutive home victory.

JeQuan Lewis added 11 points for VCU (17-4, 5-1 Atlantic 10), which is off to its best start in five years under coach Shaka Smart and its best overall start since the 2006-07 team won 19 of its first 22.

Mandell Thomas scored 25 points to lead Fordham (8-12, 1-6), which lost for the eighth time in nine games. The visiting Rams' top scorers both had off nights as Jon Severe, who leads the A-10 with a 20.2 average, managed just nine and Branden Frazier, who averages 17.8, finished with only four.

The Rams took control early, using an 18-4 run to take a 22-8 lead. Jordan Burgess had six points and Lewis five in the run, and the visiting Rams went 6:42 without a field goal after their first basket.

Fordham closed to within 30-23 late in the half, but two 3-pointers by Rob Brandenberg, the last a desperate heave to beat the halftime buzzer, fueled a 10-0 run that gave VCU a 40-23 lead at intermission.

Fordham missed its first 13 3-point shots and finished the first half 2 for 16 from deep. For the game, the visiting Rams were 7 for 28 from 3-point range, with Thomas hitting 5 of 10 and the rest of the team making 2 of 18.

The visitors opened the second half on a 9-4 run to get within 44-32. VCU quickly rebuilt the margin to 16, but Fordham twice closed to within 12 again before Brandenberg made a three-point play and Reddic followed a basket by Severe for Fordham with a stick-back. Johnson then made a fast-break 3-pointer.

That boosted VCU's lead back to 64-46 with 6:14, and by the time Fordham scored again, the homestanding Rams' lead had grown to 70-48 and Smart was pulling starters to the delight of the crowd.

---

Follow Hank on twitter at: http://twitter.com/hankkurzjr