Freshman Briante Weber provided 11 points and 5 steals in a gutty VCU win.

AKRON, Ohio – VCU freshman Briante Weber turned 19 Thursday, but he wasn’t the only Ram grew up a little bit on this night. The whole VCU team, complete with the blessings and curses of youth, walked out of Akron’s Rhodes Arena with a little more of an upperclassman’s swagger Thursday night.

Darius Theus’ baseline layup with 2.7 seconds left gave the Rams a heart pounding 76-75 win over a quality Akron team. It was a game that the Rams, at times, looked like they had no business winning, but did. When everything went wrong, VCU still found a way. This was a gut-check game. It’s type of win that’s exciting at the time, but will be even more valuable down the road.

“For our players, this is something that we can put in our back pocket and use in January and February,” said VCU Coach Shaka Smart. “Because we’re going to be on the road in league play, in similar environments against similarly talented teams and we’re going to have to find ways to win games that are not necessarily pretty.”

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