Virginia Commonwealth recovered from a lethargic opening 20 minutes to explode past Massachusetts 86-68 on Thursday.
The Minutemen (16-7, 6-4 Atlantic 10) led 42-37 at halftime, but before the first media timeout after intermission the Rams (20-5, 8-2) had gone on a 17-1 run to take control. Massachusetts didn't make its first field goal of the second half until the 13:40 mark, at which point VCU had a 58-45 lead. The Rams led by double-digits the rest of the way, extending the margin as high as 27 on two Treveon Graham free throws with 5:52 to play
Graham's 19 points led the Rams, with Melvin Johnson scoring 18 off the bench. Raphiael Putney scored 19 for the Minutemen, 15 of which came in the first half, and also added 10 rebounds.
VCU dominated on the defensive end, forcing 24 turnovers and turning them into 28 points. Massachusetts went 6-21 from the field in the second half and missed all seven of its three-point attempts after the break.
The victory gave VCU its 20th win of the season. It's the seventh consecutive season of 20 or more victories for the Rams, the longest streak in school history.