RICHMOND, Va. — Treveon Graham scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half, including the go-ahead basket with 2:58 to play, and No. 21 VCU beat city rival Richmond 93-82 on Wednesday night, avoiding a sweep of the season series.
Juvonte Reddic added 16 points for the Rams (24-6, 12-3 Atlantic 10), who remained in control of at least the second seed in the conference tournament later this month.
Cedric Lindsay led the Spiders (17-13, 7-8) with 22 points, but failed on several consecutive possessions late in the game as the Rams pulled away from a 79-all tie with 3:13 remaining.
Graham's driving basket broke the tie, and after a turnover by Lindsay in the lane, Reddic dunked for the Rams, bringing the sellout crowd in the Siegel Center to their feet. When Reddic scored again with 1:40 to play to make it 85-79, chants of "VCU! VCU!" broke out in unison.
The late surge prevented a repeat of the teams' meeting on Jan. 24 at Richmond, when the Spiders erased a seven-point deficit in the final 40 seconds, forcing overtime on a long 3-pointer by Darien Brothers in the final seconds, and then swamped the stunned Rams in overtime for an 86-74 victory.
This one was just as close until the final minutes.
Richmond trailed by six points early in the second half, but used a 14-4 run to open a 63-57 lead with 13:21 to play. The last eight points came in a span of 50 seconds on a 3-pointer by Brothers, Derrick Williams' stickback and, after a turnover by VCU, another 3-pointer by Alonzo Nelson-Ododa.
The Rams responded with a 10-2 burst that featured a three-point play and rare 3-pointer by Theus, giving them a 67-65 lead with 9 1-2 minutes to play, and it remained a possession-by-possession game until Graham's drive put the Rams ahead, and they ran away for the double-digit victory.
Theus, playing his final home game at VCU, added 13 points and Rob Brandenburg had 12.
Terry Allen had 13 points and Nelson-Ododa and Kendall Anthony had 11 each for Richmond.
VCU closed the first half on a 13-4 run, getting four points each from Melvin Johnson and Theus and a 3-pointer from Brandenburg with 2 seconds left to take a 43-41 lead.
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