Marcus Santos-Silva finished with 21 points and 18 rebounds as No. 25 Virginia Commonwealth rolled to a 72-58 victory over St. Francis (Pa.) in the season opener for both teams Tuesday night in Richmond, Va.
Santos-Silva made 8 of 11 from the field and helped the Rams take charge early. The 6-foot-7 junior let VCU take command quickly and then broke the game open early in the second half in front of the Rams’ 135th straight sellout at home.
De’Riante Jenkins and Marcus Evans, both senior guards, helped Santos-Silva in both scoring an taking charge of the game. Jenkins finished with 16 points while Evans added 12 points and four assists.
Guard Isaiah Blackmon led St. Francis with 15 points, and Keith Braxton added 11 points, but the senior guards could not get loose for enough good shots. The Red Flash stayed somewhat close but never could cut the lead much after falling behind early.
The Rams took command fairly quickly, using a 9-0 run that gave them an 11-4 lead less than five minutes into the game. VCU then pushed the lead even further, scoring 12 of 13 a little after that and took a 23-7 advantage barely 10 minutes into the first half.
The Red Flash slowly rallied and sliced the VCU lead to 36-22 at the break. The biggest problem for St. Francis in the first half was its poor shooting as the Red Flash made just 8 of 34 from the field (24 percent).
On the other side, the Rams hit 48 percent from the field, a big reason they jumped to the 14-point halftime edge. Santos-Silva grabbed an offensive rebound in the middle and then followed with a put-back on the right side that gave VCU the 14-point lead with 40 seconds remaining in the half.
St. Francis got as close as 10 in the second half, but the Rams stayed in command.
—Field Level Media