Vinny Zollo and Aaron Scales combined for 22 points and 18 rebounds off the bench, but Cleveland State dropped its final game of the 2014 calendar year, 72-63, at VCU on Monday night at the Siegel Center.
CSU falls to 6-8 overall, while VCU is now 10-3.
Zollo scored a career-high 14 points, including a 4-of-6 effort from three-point, and added nine rebounds, while Scales produced eight points and nine rebounds off the bench. Six of the boards were on the offensive end.
Treveon Graham led all scorers with 20 points and added nine rebounds.
"I thought our guys fought hard tonight, especially in a great environment" head coach Gary Waters said. "But we didn't execute at times and didn't hit a good percentage. They work very hard on defense and make you work hard on the offensive end to find a good shot."
The Rams raced out to a quick 12-0 lead less than five minutes in, but the Vikings battled back, tying the contest at 22-22 on a free throw by Anton Grady with 6:46 left in the half.
The Vikings used the three-pointer to rally, hitting five in the first half, including three by Zollo to claw back.
A three-pointer by Terry Larrier with 41 seconds to play in the half gave the Rams a five-point advantage (32-27) at the break.
The Rams scored 11 of the first 14 points of the second half to open a 43-30 lead, hitting four of their first six shots, including a pair of three-pointers. The Vikings got back within 10 points (50-40) on another Zollo three-pointer midway through the second half, but a 10-2 VCU run over the next three minutes allowed the Rams to build a 60-42 advantage.
A three-pointer from Lewis sliced CSU's deficit back to single digits (67-58) with 2:31 to play, but the Vikings could not close the game any further.
The Vikings return to action on Friday (Jan. 2) when CSU opens Horizon League play with a 7:00 p.m. contest against Milwaukee in the Wolstein Center.