Recap: VCU cruises past Winthrop

The VCU Rams responded to Tuesday’s loss to Wichita State by blowing out Winthrop, 90-54, on Saturday afternoon in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

VCU rams front

The Virginia Commonwealth University Rams responded to Tuesday’s 53-51 loss to Wichita State by blowing out Winthrop 90-54 on Saturday afternoon in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Recap

Saturday afternoon was a statement win as VCU started strong and never took their foot off the accelerator. Winthrop drew first blood, and the Eagle’s 2-0 lead was their final lead of the entire game. The Rams forced turnovers with ease, and a Juvonte Reddic jump shot with 11:28 left in the first half put VCU up by double digits for the remainder of the game. After 20 minutes, the Rams boasted an impressive 48-26 halftime lead.

Eagle’s head coach Pat Kelsey must have said something in the locker room because Winthrop started the second half with an 8-0 run. Winthrop’s leading scorer, Derrick Henry, who finished with 23 points, used a flurry of three-pointers to cut the lead to 13 points, but the Rams responded. After only playing three minutes last game, freshman shooting guard Melvin Johnson saw minutes early and often. With 7:49 remaining, he drained a jump shot to score double figures for the first time in what could be a long, prolific scoring career. He finished the game with 12 points on 4-7 shooting (2-3 from range).

A dominant 19-0 run put VCU up by 34 points. Coach Smart finally emptied the bench, but even reserves Justin Tuoyo and David Hinton did damage to the frustrated Eagles. It was a confidence building win for the Rams as they enter their toughest stretch of games since the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

Troy Daniels

Troy Daniels left the Wichita State with a right ankle injury. On Saturday, Daniels started the game and scored 11 points including 3-4 shooting from behind the arc in 24 minutes of action. The senior sharpshooter looked as if he hadn’t missed a beat since being carried off the court on Tuesday.

Top performer: Juvonte Reddic

17 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 assist

It’s no secret, Juvonte Reddic can flat out play. After three games, Reddic is averaging 16.3PPG, 8.6RPG, and 2SPG while shooting 66.6% from the field. Saturday afternoon, Reddic showed his scoring versatility and efficiency while shooting 7-11 from the field. On Thanksgiving, Reddic will be matched up with Tariq Black and Shaq Goodwin, and his play is paramount to VCU’s success against #17 Memphis.

New dimensions

Last season, VCU struggled to score points compared to the 2011 Final Four squad. Troy Daniels and Bradford Burgess were the Ram’s only established 3-point shooters on a squad that attempted 39.2% of its shots from downtown. Through three games, Darius Theus and Briante Weber have significantly improved their 3-point shooting from the past. Last season, Theus shot 15-62 (.242) from range but is 5-10 (.500) from range this season including that clutch late 3-pointer against Wichita State. Weber shot 9-36 (.250) from downtown but is 5-8 (.625) this season. The sample size is very small and the competition inconsistant, but Theus and Weber have the skill and potential to add an entirely new dimension to VCU.

5 stats

  • VCU won by 36 points, it is the Rams’ largest margin of victory since a 112-53 beat down of Towson on January, 27 2010.
  • In the second half, VCU went on a five and half minute 19-0 run.
  • VCU shot 52% from beyond the arc, their highest percentage since shooting 52.9% against VMI on December 8, 2010.
  • The Rams, minus Rob Brandenberg’s attempts, shot 29-48 (.600) from the field and 13-21 (.619) from beyond the arc.
  • The Rams scored 90 points for the first time since beating Purdue 94-76 in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

Looking forward

The Rams travel to Paradise Island, Bahamas to compete in the Battle 4 Atlantis. VCU will play #17 Memphis on Thanksgiving at 7pm on NBC Sport Network. On Friday, they will play either #9 Duke or Minnesota. The Rams will play a final game on Saturday with the opponent TBA.

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Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams loves music, basketball (follow @rvaramnews!), family, learning, and barbecue sauce.

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