VCU beats LSU 85-74 in 5th-place game at Battle 4 Atlantis

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) " This time VCU built on its halftime lead.

Justin Tillman scored a season-high 17 points to help VCU beat LSU 85-74 on Friday in the fifth-place game at the Battle 4 Atlantis, a win coming two days after the Rams blew a halftime lead in the opening-round loss to No. 20 Baylor.

JeQuan Lewis scored 19 for the Rams (5-1), who shot 58 percent after halftime. VCU pushed a 40-33 halftime lead into a double-digit lead about 5 minutes into the second half and maintained a comfortable margin the rest of the way.

"I think we got off to a better start the second half," VCU coach Will Wade said. "By the first media (timeout) we'd expanded the lead by just a point but we hadn't given any ground like we had in the Baylor game."

In that one, the Rams led 36-28 before losing 71-63.

"We reminded them of that at half," Wade said.

Tillman, a 6-foot-7 junior, had missed two straight games due to a left foot injury before coming to the Bahamas. He saw limited work against Baylor, but had 13 rebounds in Thursday's win against St. John's and followed that with a strong scoring day.

He finished 8 of 9 from the floor while also pulling down eight rebounds.

"I had to get back into the game and just start picking it up, game by game," Tillman said.

Antonio Blakeney and Skylar Mays each scored 14 for the Tigers (4-2), who shot 49 percent but couldn't keep the Rams within reach after halftime.

"I thought once we got in halfcourt sets, we did a decent job of defending," LSU coach Johnny Jones said. "But when we were turning the ball over, it was very quick, easy scoring opportunities for them and they fed off that. We had entirely too many turnovers in the second half."

BIG PICTURE

LSU: This was the second double-digit loss for LSU in three games in Atlantis, going back to a 35-point loss to Wichita State in Wednesday's opener. The Tigers trailed by as many as 19 in this one, while their lone win here came Thursday against Old Dominion.

"We know we can take valuable lessons from this that they can compete at a certain level," Jones said. "Now we've got to put things together: taking care of the basketball, making sure we're rebounding and doing the things we need to and being able to execute our offense at a high level."

VCU: The Rams lost their Atlantis opener to Baylor " the eventual champion " but bounced back with two straight wins to take some positive momentum back to the state of Virginia.

"I thought we got better as we were here," Wade said.

TIP-INS

LSU: LSU committed 10 of its 18 turnovers after halftime. ... Duop Reath scored 13 points. ... LSU finished with a 36-33 rebounding advantage. ... Junior guard Jayln Patterson earned his second straight start and had seven assists.

VCU: VCU had 14 of its 19 points off turnovers after halftime. ... Lewis' 19 points gave him exactly 1,000 for his career. ... Lewis also finished with nine assists and one turnover. ... Samir Doughty had 12 points and seven rebounds. ... VCU had eight turnovers.

UP NEXT

LSU: The Tigers return home Tuesday to play Houston.

VCU: The Rams play at home Tuesday against Princeton.

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

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More AP college basketball at http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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