Virginia Commonwealth head coach Shaka Smart greets an unidentified man prior to the game against Cincinnati in an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Frank Victores
December 20, 2014

CINCINNATI (AP) Melvin Johnson scored 18 points with four of Virginia Commonwealth's 15 3-pointers on Saturday in a 68-47 win over Cincinnati, which was playing without coach Mick Cronin.

The Bearcats (7-3) were dealing with the unexpected absence of their coach, who was diagnosed with an aneurysm that was revealed earlier in the day. A school release did not say where the aneurysm was in the 43-year old Cronin, who is in his ninth season with the team. Associate head coach Larry Davis will run the team in Cronin's absence.

VCU (8-3) held Cincinnati to 33 percent shooting and forced 15 turnovers. The Rams were 15 of 31 from 3-point range.

Cincinnati, which was led by Octavius Ellis' 12 points, had won its last 16 regular-season nonconference home games.

The Rams led 20-9 midway through the first half on the strength of six 3-pointers, two each by Terry Larrier and Jordan Burgess. The Rams had two more 3s in the first half to build a 34-21 lead and then scored the first seven points of the second half to go up by 20.

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