VCU's Doug Brooks (5) and Duquesne's Eric James go after a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at VCU in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. (Daniel Sangjib Min/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)
AP Photo
January 20, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) JeQuan Lewis said VCU was outplayed. Mo Alie-Cox said it was outhustled. Coach Will Wade wasn't even that generous.

And in the state of VCU basketball right now, the Rams pounded Duquesne 93-71 Wednesday night for their ninth straight victory.

''I wasn't really happy with how we played, to be honest,'' Wade said after singling out some individuals for their efforts, then noting that the Dukes had 16 offensive rebounds and 21 second-chance points. ''I thought Duquesne competed harder than we did today. That's a problem so we've got to get that fixed.

''I know it looks nice. We scored 90-some points and all that, but that's a recipe for disaster if we don't get that fixed, and quick.''

Wade said he didn't mince words with the team afterward, and they got the message.

''Too many second-chance points,'' Alie-Cox said. ''They were outhustling us, outcompeting us to 50/50 balls, stuff like that.''

Lewis agreed.

''They just outplayed us,'' he said. ''If we were at their place, this game probably would have been different.''

Still, Alie-Cox and Doug Brooks scored 16 points each to lead five Rams in double figures, and VCU shot 52.5 percent against a team that arrived allowing its opponents to make just 40.6 percent. From 3-point range, VCU was even better, sinking 10 of 17 (58.5 percent) with six players making at least one.

Justin Tillman added 15 points, Melvin Johnson 13 and Lewis 11 for the Rams (14-5, 6-0 Atlantic 10), who are off to their second consecutive 6-0 start in league play. The Rams led 44-31 at halftime, absorbed an 8-3 run by the Dukes to start the second half, then poured it on, opening a lead of as many as 26 points

''They're good. They're really deep. They have really good players. They play really hard. They're getting into a rhythm,'' Dukes coach Jim Ferry said. ''The biggest key is JeQuan Lewis. He's playing like he has the ability to play. ... I think he's really making them play at a higher speed right now.''

L.G. Gill scored 18 points and Derrick Colter 17 to lead the Dukes (12-7, 2-4), who were playing their second consecutive unbeaten league leader. Duquesne knocked Saint Bonaventure from the top of the league standings with a 95-88 victory last Saturday. Micah Mason added 15 points and Eric James 13 for Duquesne.

The Rams used a 10-0 run early in the second half to open a 57-39 lead, their largest to that point. After the Dukes scored seven straight points, Tillman scored five and Brooks hit one of his three 3-pointers in an 8-0 burst for VCU, and they eventually pushed their lead as high as 26 before prematurely coasting.

''Offensively, we can score the ball, we share the ball, we're good on offense, but the reality is we're not going to score 94 points every night,'' Wade said. ''At some point, you have to be able to sit down and be able to guard and get some stops and get some tough rebounds and do those sort of things.''

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CHARITY

Both teams shot well from the free throw line, though there was a disparity in attempts. Duquesne was 7 of 9, VCU 19 of 21.

TIP-INS

Duquesne: Senior Micah Mason is the second-most accurate 3-point shooter in NCAA history at 46.9 percent and has hit at least one 3 in 92 of 104 career games. He hit three against VCU, but missed four other tries. The career leader is Virginia coach Tony Bennett, who made 49.7 percent (290 of 584) in his career at Green Bay.

VCU: The Rams came into the game having forced their opponents into more turnovers than field goals five times this season. They did it against Prairie View A&M, American, Buffalo, George Mason and Saint Louis. The Dukes wound up with 18 turnovers, but made 29 field goals.

UP NEXT

Duquesne plays at George Mason on Saturday.

VCU hosts Saint Bonaventure on Saturday.

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