Chaos: Saint Joe’s blows late 13-point lead at home in loss to VCU

Melvin Johnson had a game-high 25 points. (USATSI)

Saint Joseph’s was less than half of a second half away from finding itself on the receiving end of some really good publicity. Then VCU rallied, blew the whole thing up, and now the Atlantic 10 has a little nice chaos to it just a week into conference season. Phil Martelli’s Hawks led at home by 13 with seven minutes remaining, yet found a way to lose.

VCU 85, Saint Joseph’s 82.

Had SJU won, it would have crept back into the fringes of the national conversation, as the team has flown under the radar this season. Now it must start anew.

Tuesday’s turn of events is an impressive and spirit-boosting win for the Rams, who are trying to find consistency under first-year coach Will Wade. VCU is now 10-5, 2-0 in Atlantic 10 play and riding a five-game winning streak. Just a wowing tide-turn on the Hill in Philly here.

The Hawks had their seven-game streak snapped and now sit at 11-3 and 1-1 in the A10. Saint Joe’s star (and eventual 2016 NBA draft pick) DeAndre Bembry missed the tying shot as time expired after Melvin Johnson missed the back end of his pair of foul shots.

Johnson finished with a game-high 25 points.

VCU was less effective from the field, took six fewer foul shots, five fewer assits and was even in steals (five to five). But the rally down the stretch was where it made up the difference. For SJU, Isaiah Miles’ stellar showing (11-for-14 shooting, 31 points) is for naught.

Saint Joe’s will try to get right on Sunday when it faces my preseason pick to win the Atlantic 10, Rhode Island. VCU will play at Saint Louis on the same day.

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