By MARK ROSNER , Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Marcus Evans scored 16 points and De’Riante Jenkins added 12, helping VCU hand Texas its second straight loss at home against a mid-major opponent, 54-53 Wednesday night.
Marcus Santos-Silva had 10 points, and career highs with 16 rebounds and five steals for the Rams (7-2).
Texas (5-3) has lost three straight, including a three-point defeat by Radford last week.
The Longhorns had two shots to win the game in the final 40 seconds, but Courtney Ramey and Matt Coleman missed open 3-pointers, the latter as time ran out.
Jericho Sims led Texas with 14 points. Nobody else reached double figures.
VCU turned 18 Texas turnovers into 17 points and 17 offensive rebounds into 19 points.
Sims made a shot in the lane to leave Texas trailing by one point with 4:12 remaining. The Longhorns then had four turnovers and a missed a shot on their next five possessions, while VCU made two free throws — by Issac Vann — during that stretch for a three-point lead.
A steal by Longhorn Jaxson Hayes led to a fastbreak basket by Kerwin Roach with 1:29 left, and VCU again led by one.
Evans and Jenkins scored 12 points apiece as VCU took a 32-31 halftime lead. Evans scored seven in the final 1:19, the last five on free throws. Jenkins, meanwhile, made four 3-point baskets in the half.
VCU: During his first three seasons at Texas, coach Shaka Smart was reluctant to use the full-court defense, known as havoc, that he popularized at VCU. Smart believes it hurts efforts to recruit high-level high school players, although he has employed it more this season. VCU coach Mike Rhoades, a former assistant to Smart, has no such reluctance. The Rams use it a lot, and it helped them take a one-point lead at halftime despite shooting only 25.8 percent. VCU induced nine turnovers, turning them into nine points, including two that gave the Rams the lead just before halftime. The Rams shot a little better in the second half; 30.8 percent.
Texas: Roach, a senior, was briefly in the national spotlight when he scored a career-best 32 points — nearly double his average — during a 92-89 win against North Carolina on Thanksgiving night. Roach converted all three of his 3-point attempts. But in three games since that one, Roach has hit just 7 of 37. He was 1 of 11 against VCU.
VCU is at No. 4 Virginia on Sunday. Virginia defeated the Rams 76-67 last season at VCU.
Texas is at home against Purdue, which missed the AP top 25 rankings by one point this week, on Sunday in the second of six straight home games for the Longhorns. Texas and Purdue have met three times but not since 2003. The Longhorns won two of those games, including a 73-72 contest in the second round of the 1990 NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis.