No. 22 Virginia Commonwealth used a 26-2 first-half run to down Duquesne, 90-63, Saturday night at Consol Energy Center, keeping the Dukes winless in the Atlantic 10.
The Dukes missed 14 of 15 shots and made six turnovers during a dreadful span that lasted 11 minutes. They were down 13-12 before VCU's run, and trailed, 39-14, afterward.
“They're just a far superior basketball team than we are in every aspect,” Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said. “We don't have the pieces yet to become that.”
Rob Brandenberg scored 22 points, Treveon Graham had 20 and Juvonte Reddic added 16 for VCU (16-3, 4-0), an A-10 newcomer who reached the Final Four two season ago out of the Colonial Athletic Association.
Freshman guard Derrick Colter had 15 points for Duquesne (7-11, 0-4), which lost its sixth straight.
“To be quite honest, I'm not even concerned about that,” said Ferry, who downplayed his young team's consecutive losses. “It's about us getting better.”
The victory extended VCU's winning streak to 13 games, the nation's second-longest active behind Kansas. It also earned Shaka Smart his 100th career victory, making him the 12th coach to reach the century mark in just four seasons.
The unrelenting 26-2 run was key.
“We continue to push the ball and play our style of game no matter what's going on,” Brandenberg said.
A jumper by Colter cut VCU's lead to 13-12 with 13:48 left before halftime. But the Dukes scored just two points during the 11 minutes that followed, a jumper by Sean Johnson at 9:30.
Their next points came with 2:40 left, a turnaround basket by Mamadou Datt.
VCU scored 26 points between those baskets by Colter and Datt. That included consecutive 3-pointers by Graham, who scored 17 first-half points. The second gave VCU a 21-12 lead with 11:47 until halftime.
A layup by Brandenberg near the first half's six-minute mark pushed VCU's lead beyond 20 points.
Duquesne trailed, 44-18, at halftime.
A 3-pointer by Bradenberg just 28 seconds into the second pushed that lead to 30 points. The Rams' largest lead was 35 points.
“I knew what I signed up for when I got here,” Ferry said. “We've got to rebuild this program. This league is a beast. It's about each game. We learn from each game we play.”
This was the third of Duquesne's four games at Consol Energy Center this season, having already played Pitt and West Virginia at the arena. Xavier will visit here Feb. 9.
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