VCU beats Boston College 69-50

JIM O'CONNELL (AP Basketball Writer)
The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- VCU did what VCU does best.

The Rams, who lead the nation in forced turnovers, forced a lot of turnovers and beat Boston College 69-50 on Saturday night in the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival at Barclays Center.

Juvonte Reddic had 14 points and eight rebounds for VCU (11-3), which has won three straight and seven of eight. The Rams beat a third Atlantic Coast Conference team for the first time in program history. They beat Virginia and Virginia Tech this season in addition to Boston College and lost to Florida State.

''It's a great accomplishment but one I'm going to enjoy later,'' said Rob Brandenberg, who had 13 points for the Rams. ''To get three wins in a conference like that is something we'll take with us.''

The latest win featured another impressive defensive performance by VCU, which entered the game leading the nation in turnovers forced per game (20.2) and steals (13.1). They forced 23 turnovers and had 11 steals.

''I thought VCU did a terrific job with their system. I think it is unique,'' Boston College coach Steve Donohue said. ''All 10 guys are committed for 40 minutes.

''There's definitely a factor where they wear you down mentally more than physically. No one cares who scores and in this day and age that's unique. Ten kids who don't care who scores. They just keep coming at you.''

Olivier Hanlan had 17 points for Boston College (4-9), which has lost five of six. The Eagles had their lowest point total of the season (62 was the previous in a loss to Southern California). Boston College came in averaging 11.8 turnovers per game and they passed that figure by two in the first half.

''We did a terrific job on the defensive end for pretty much the whole game,'' VCU coach Shaka Smart said. ''Hanlan was our point of emphasis, keeping him out of the lane and contesting his shots. Our top four players had a great approach and when they do, we have a great team.''

VCU led 22-17 at halftime and the Rams opened the second half on a 11-4 run. The Eagles got within 35-26 on a three-point play by Hanlan with 13:50 to play.

The Rams then went on one of their familiar runs, turning turnovers into points. Their 14-1 run had six points coming directly off Eagles turnovers and it made it 49-27 with 10:48 to go on an inbounds steal and layup by Melvin Johnson.

''In the second half the shots started to fall,'' Brandenberg said. ''Coach and the older players said at halftime that we were up five and not shooting well but we were defending on a high level and it will take care of itself and that's what we did in the second half.''

Treveon Graham had 13 points for VCU, which finished 6 of 26 from 3-point range.

Graham said you can sense when a run is starting to be effective.

''They are fatigued and start to argue with each other,'' he said. ''That's when we attack.''

Ryan Anderson added 13 points for the Eagles, who were 3 of 18 from beyond the arc.

''Any time you play that hard things are going to start going your way,'' Anderson said of VCU.

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