RICHMOND, Va. -- Treveon Graham's first two field goals of the night sparked a 17-0 run to start the second half and Virginia Commonwealth beat Stony Brook 81-63 on Friday night in its final game before beginning Atlantic 10 play.
Graham led the Rams (12-3) with 20 points and four other Rams scored in double figures as they broke open a back-and-forth game with the big burst to start the second half. Melvin Johnson also made his first two field goals in the run, capping it with a deep 3-pointer from the left wing and a floater.The Seawolves (9-5) had won three straight, but struggled mightily against the Rams' full-court pressure. Stony Brook turned the ball over a season-high 21 times, nearly twice its 12.2 average.VCU scored 28 points off those takeaways, and the Rams turned the ball over just nine times.Preseason favorites to win the Atlantic 10, the Rams will open conference play next Thursday night, also at the Seigel Center, when they entertain longtime rival and first-year A10 member George Mason.The Rams came into the game on a roll that suggested their "havoc" style was hitting its stride. They had limited their last three opponents, including Virginia Tech and Boston College of the ACC, to averages of 53 points, 23.7 turnovers and 35 percent shooting in winning by an average of more than 21 points.They led just 36-35 at halftime after Briante Weber's short jumper at the buzzer. The lead came despite being outshot 52 percent to 41 percent and outrebounded 20-9, because they forced 13 turnovers.Graham's 15-footer and 3-pointer started the second-half burst. Juvonte Reddic hit a free throw, Terrance Shannon scored on a putback and then fed Reddic for an inside basket. A foul-line jumper by Shannon followed, and then Johnson made a long 3-pointer and capped the run with the shot in the lane.That made it 53-35, and the Seawolves already had five turnovers in the half.They trailed by as many as 22 thereafter and never challenged.Dave Coley and Carson Puriefoy led the Seawolves with 16 points each.- -Follow Hank on twitter at: http://twitter.com/hankkurzjr