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La Salle 74, Virginia Commonwealth 69 (2OT)

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RICHMOND, Va. — The third installment of a budding Atlantic-10 rivalry featured a familiar finish Wednesday night at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.

After the La Salle Explorers and the No. 20 Virginia Commonwealth Rams traded thrilling victories in 2013 and 2014, they turned in another hard-nosed double overtime classic Wednesday.

Led by guard Jordan Price’s 34 points and 18 rebounds, La Salle methodically built a six point lead and withstood several VCU runs to escape with a 74-69 double overtime victory — its first road victory against a ranked team since knocking off the Rams two years ago.

After going back and forth for nearly 40 minutes, the Rams relied on its stout defense to take control in the waning minutes, only for Price to bury a three-pointer with 28 seconds left to send the game into overtime. The two teams battled back and forth for a 62-62 tie at the end of the first overtime, resulting in another extra five minutes of play.

The Explorers opened up a brief five-point lead near the midway point of the second half, forcing the Rams to play a bit of catch-up. VCU slowly chipped away at the lead, until Guard JeQuan Lewis nailed a 3-pointer with 5:36 to go that put the Rams ahead 51-50.

After entering the half knotted at 30-30, the two teams roared back out of the gate, combining for 19 points in a frenetic first five minutes of the second half. Lewis scored VCU’s first five points out of the break, but the Explorers answered every time.

Forward Jerrell Wright and guard Cleon Roberts finished with 12 points each to complement Price’s outburst for the Explorers.

Lewis led the Rams with 26 points while guard Melvin Johnson had 13. Guard Jordan Burgess chipped in with 12 rebounds and five points.

Price scored 14 first-half points, though he sank just five of 13 shots before the break. La Salle spread the floor and hit three of seven first-half 3-point attempts.

The Rams were 0-for-8 from 3-point range in the first half, but they scored 22 points in the paint over the opening 20 minutes. Johnson led the Rams with six first-half points.

NOTES: VCU’s student section wore white headbands in honor of injured G Briante Weber, who was lost for the season with an MCL tear on Jan. 31 against Richmond. … The teams met for the sixth time in history. They split their two prior two meetings as Atlantic-10 rivals.

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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