RICHMOND, Va. (AP)Mike’L Simms hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final 2:07 for his only baskets of the game and No. 25 VCU held off North Texas 59-56 on Friday night.
Marcus Evans led VCU (2-0) with 13 points and De’Riante Jenkins had 12, including two free throws with 10.5 seconds left.
The Mean Green (1-1) had a chance to tie it but never got off a shot against the Rams’ tight defense.
North Texas trailed most of the night but went ahead 48-47 on DJ Draper’s 3-pointer with 5:25 to play. Jenkins answered with two free throws and, after a miss at the other end, Corey Douglas scored on a putback for the Rams, just their second field goal in 12 attempts.
After two free throws by Umoja Gibson pulled North Texas within 51-50, Simms connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the key, his first field goal in seven tries. He did it again with 1:10 to play after Draper’s fourth 3-pointer pulled the Mean Green to within 54-53 with 1:41 remaining.
The Rams trailed 19-11 before holding North Texas scoreless for more than nine minutes while scoring 20 consecutive points. Jenkins had eight points in the burst, and Malik Crowfield and Evans hit 3-pointers.
North Texas: The Mean Green had 13 first-half turnovers that led to 16 VCU points, but they turned that around in the second half.
VCU: The Rams were outscored 26-10 in the paint as Marcus Santos-Silva, who had 21 points and 18 rebounds in their opener, was quiet, finishing with just three points and seven rebounds.
North Texas plays at Arkansas next Tuesday night.
The Rams face former coach Will Wade and No. 22 LSU next Wednesday night.
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