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Virginia Commonwealth 84, Butler 52

The SportsXchange

RICHMOND, Va. -- No. 25 Virginia Commonwealth ran roughshod over No. 21 Butler, 84-52, in the schools' first meeting as Atlantic 10 Conference members on Saturday at the Siegel Center.

The Rams' relentless full-court pressure completely flustered the Bulldogs, who had won their previous three games against Top 25 teams this season.

Butler, which boasts victories over top-ranked Indiana and No. 2 Gonzaga this season, tied a season high with 23 turnovers and trailed by as many as 33 points in the second half.

Four Virginia Commonwealth players scored in double figures, led by senior guard Troy Daniels, who had 20 points and was 4-for-8 from 3-point range. Rams senior guard Darius Theus had eight points, nine assists and five steals.

The Rams (23-6, 11-3 in the A-10), who finished with 17 steals, clinched one of the top four seeds for the Atlantic 10 tournament, are one-half game behind first-place Saint Louis in the standings with two regular-season games left.

The Bulldogs (22-7, 9-5), meanwhile, have lost two consecutive games for the first time this season and are tied for fourth place in the standings.

In a rematch of their 2011 Final Four meeting, Virginia Commonwealth and Butler were expected to provide a fast-paced and highly-competitive game on the Rams' home court. But the game got out of hand quickly.

The Rams forced nine turnovers in the first 12 minutes and led by double figures for the game's final 31:23.

Butler showed life with a 7-0 run to start the second half, but Treveon Graham and Juvonte Reddic both scored five points during a 10-4 Virginia Commonwealth run that extended the lead to 55-32.

The Rams built the lead up to 80-47 on junior center D.J. Haley's dunk with 3:54 remaining.

NOTES: Senior guard Troy Daniels of Virginia Commonwealth made his 100th 3-pointer of the season in the first half, becoming only the 15th player in Atlantic 10 Conference history to reach the century mark. ... The Rams won for the first time in three meetings against the Bulldogs. ... Virginia Commonwealth is 2-0 against ranked opponents all-time at the Siegel Center. No. 17 Oklahoma lost, 82-69, to the Rams in 2009 in the only other appearance by a ranked team at Siegel Center. ... The Rams are 23-0 this season when forcing 15 or more turnovers.
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