Brandenberg finds his shot and the Rams find a win

Virginia Commonwealth University handled Northeastern, 75-65, with a dominating defense and hot second half offense in the quarterfinals of the 2012 CAA Tournament. VCU will advance to take on George Mason tomorrow in the semifinals.

Recap

Virginia Commonwealth University handled Northeastern, 75-65, with a dominating defense and hot second half offense in the quarterfinals of the 2012 CAA Tournament. VCU will advance to take on George Mason tomorrow (March 4th) in the semifinals.

The Rams got off to a slow start offensively but the HAVOC defense was relentless and VCU led until the final two minutes of the half. Northeastern, keeping with their tendencies, turned the ball over 11 times in the first half alone, but the Rams only tallied nine points off those turnovers. Poor shooting (39.3% and 33.3% from beyond the arc) plagued VCU and they failed to score points during the last six minutes of the half.

The second half, however, was a different story, and the difference maker was Rob Brandenberg. Brandenberg hit three consecutive three pointers over the course of a couple minutes–the place went nuts. He would finish the night shooting 6-11 and 3-5 from three point range with 19 points. VCU’s shooting improved (51.7%) and the Rams built up a comfortable lead on the backs of Brandenberg, Burgess (10pts), and Graham (16pts).

Freshman guard, Teddy Okereafor was another bright spot for the Rams. He played fourteen minutes–more than he’s played against any team not named Towson–and scored eight points, which is a career high. Coach Smart said this week was Teddy O’s best week of practices and that he wasn’t surprised with how well Okereafor played.

Top performer: Rob Brandenberg

  • 19 points, 4 rebounds, 0 blocks, 2 steals, 0 turnovers

Brandenberg had only made one out of five of his shots in the first half. The whole team was shooting poorly and looking for a second-half spark, and that’s when Brandenberg quickly stepped in and drained three consecutive threes. From there the Rams would lead by as much as 21.

Terrible free throw shooting isn’t going to cut it

VCU missed 17 free throws on the night. They watched their 21-point second-half lead dwindle to eight. Coach Smart said that although it was a good team win, they were sloppy with the free throws and that “we’ll be better tomororw.”

The Coliseum can be awesome

As much as The Coliseum is maligned for being old, ugly, and outdated the atmosphere in there can be fantastic. It took a while for the place to fill up, but once it did it was loud and awesome. Sure Richmond needs a Coliseum replacement (preferably one that doesn’t look like a spaceship (or maybe looks more like a spaceship)), but it’s nice to see that the old girl can still put on a great show.

5 Stats

  • VCU’s bench outscored Northeastern’s bench 46-4.
  • The Rams had 14 steals, above their season average of 11.5.
  • The Huskies turned it over 25 times, which lead to 25 VCU points.
  • VCU’s 45.2% free throw shooting percentage was their second worst FT percentage this season. The Rams average 70.1% on the season.
  • The Coliseum was sold out with 11,200 in attendance.

Looking forward

Tomorrow at 4:30pm the Rams will take on George Mason for the third time this season. After a buzzer beater loss at Mason, VCU crushed the Patriots at home just a week ago.

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Related

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To stay up to date on all things VCU Basketball related, follow @rvaRAMnews on twitter or facebook.

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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

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