Recap: VCU uses 22-2 run to bust Belmont’s streak

Sunday night, VCU ended an NCAA-leading 23-game home winning streak

VCU - Belmont

Virginia Commonwealth University picked up a quality road win Sunday evening in Nashville by beating Belmont 81-68.

Recap

January 6th, 2012: the last time a team other than the Belmont Bruins won in the Curb Event Center. Sunday night, VCU ended an NCAA-leading 23-game home winning streak while handing the Bruins their 21st loss in the 10-year history of the building. Not only is this game a timely reminder that VCU is a really good basketball team, it’s a win that will be valuable come Selection Sunday in March.

Belmont, not VCU, looked like the team destined to win by double-digits as they jumped out to a 23-11 lead behind 4 of 4 3-point shooting. Belmont couldn’t miss in the first half, but VCU used turnovers to keep the game close.

With 2:05 remaining, Juvonte Reddic chased after an errant pass and collided with Craig Bradshaw. Both players spent an extended amount of time on the ground. Reddic returned in the first half but Bradshaw was sidelined for the rest of the game. Reddic looked rattled but he responded with two fast steal-dunks, a powerful jam, and a monstrous put-back jam. After a tough trip to Puerto Rico, Reddic has played his two best games of the season this week. His reemergence is crucial moving forward.

In the second half, Belmont used an 8-0 run to lead VCU 50-44 with 12:55 remaining. Melvin Johnson, who had called for the shot a couple times in the second half, got open in the corner and drilled a 3-pointer that kicked off a 22-2 run for the Rams. JeQuan Lewis hit a 3-pointer and Johnson hit two more while a six point deficit turned into a commanding 14 point lead.

Freshman JeQuan Lewis finished with a career high 12 points while only playing 45 miles from his hometown of Dickson, TN. Lewis oozes with talent but his brilliant plays are often followed by inexperienced mistakes. Sunday looked like a turning point for him. He limited his mistakes and came up with several big plays as a ball-handler and a distributor. Having another talented guard that can sub for and play alongside Briante Weber is invaluable.

While VCU’s offense was firing on all cylinders, Belmont shooting started regressing to the mean. After finishing 6 of 9 from 3-point range in the first half, the Bruins went just 5 of 18 in the second. Leading scorer JJ Mann finished 5 of 19 from the field with six turnovers and Belmont’s firepower was gone as they tried to fight back. By the end of the game, VCU’s full-court pressure had taken its toll and the Bruins were unable to cut into VCU’s double-digit lead.

Top performer: Melvin Johnson

Treveon Graham and Juvonte Reddic had terrific games, but Johnson’s 3-point shooting fueled the extended run that decided the game. With graduated sharpshooter Troy Daniels tearing up the NBA D-League from range, the Rams need Melvin Johnson to fill his void. He finished 4 of 7 on the night and he is now 15 of 39 (.385) from 3-point range this season.

5 stats

  • Briante Weber now has 204 career steals. That moves him past Edmund Sherrod into 4th place on the VCU Career Steals list.
  • Belmont is now 0-2 against teams from Richmond, VA and 7-0 against everyone else including UNC and Indiana State.
  • In his last three games, Jarred Guest has 8 fouls in only 23 minutes of action.
  • Since leaving for Puerto Rico, Juvonte Reddic is averaging 17.3 and 10.3 in wins and 7.5 and 2 in losses.
  • VCU finished 16 of 18 (.889) from the charity stripe. Their second best performance this season was .750 against FSU.

Box Score

VCU

Player Min TP 2FG 3FG FT-FTA OR DR PF A TO Blk Stl
Briante Weber* 31 5 1-3 0-0 3-4 0 2 3 4 1 0 4
Rob Brandenberg* 32 8 2-5 1-5 1-2 0 2 1 0 2 0 2
Melvin Johnson* 27 16 2-3 4-7 0-0 0 2 1 1 4 0 1
Juvonte Reddic* 29 18 7-13 0-0 4-4 2 9 2 1 0 1 3
Mo Alie-Cox 25 6 3-4 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 0 1 2 0
Treveon Graham 30 16 4-5 1-3 5-5 1 8 3 3 3 0 1
JeQuan Lewis 19 12 3-5 1-2 3-3 1 0 2 3 2 0 1
Jarred Guest 5 0 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 0 2 0 2 0 2
Jairus Lyles 1 0 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Doug Brooks 0 0 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
200 81 22-41 7-18 16-18 7 26 16 12 15 3 15

Belmont

Player Min TP 2FG 3FG FT-FTA OR DR PF A TO Blk Stl
JJ Mann* 39 14 1-9 4-10 0-0 2 3 3 6 6 0 2
Evan Bradds* 32 10 4-5 0-0 2-2 2 2 4 5 0 0 0
Craig Bradshaw* 13 3 0-1 1-2 0-1 0 3 1 2 5 0 1
Blake Jenkins* 32 14 4-6 1-1 3-8 0 4 4 0 0 1 0
Drew Windler* 31 13 1-2 3-6 2-2 0 9 2 3 3 1 3
Caleb Chowbay 32 12 3-5 2-8 0-0 0 1 0 2 4 2 0
Holden Mobley 17 2 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 3 0 1 0 0
Chad Lang 2 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Nick Smith 1 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jeff Laidig 1 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
200 68 14-29 11-27 7-13 8 24 17 18 21 4 6

Looking forward

VCU hosts Eastern Kentucky on Thursday at 7:00 PM. Eastern Kentucky ranks second in the nation with 11.9 steals per game. VCU leads the nation with 12.7 steals per game.

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Aaron Williams

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

1 comment on Recap: VCU uses 22-2 run to bust Belmont’s streak

  1. Interesting stat: Check out the combined 2FG + 3FG for each team.
    VCU was 29 for 59 and Belmont was 25 for 56. Comparable percentages, but Belmont made more attempts from behind the 3 point line whereas VCU chose to try for 2s.

    Also, interesting to see VCU had more than double Belmont’s “points from free throws.”

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