From Chris Kowalczyk, Assistant Director of Athletic Communications at VCU: Junior Eric Maynor pumped in 22 of his game-high 27 points to lead a valiant comeback effort by VCU, but Miami held on for a 69-63 victory Friday in the Puerto Rico Tip Off at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico. The loss pits VCU against Arkansas (No. […]
From Chris Kowalczyk, Assistant Director of Athletic Communications at VCU:
Junior Eric Maynor pumped in 22 of his game-high 27 points to lead a valiant comeback effort by VCU, but Miami held on for a 69-63 victory Friday in the Puerto Rico Tip Off at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico.
The loss pits VCU against Arkansas (No. 18 AP poll) on Sunday at 5 p.m. (ESPN2).
The Rams trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half, and were down 59-46, with 1:52 remaining. However, Maynor canned a 3-pointer after a Miami turnover, and a pair of baskets – one from Maynor, the other from senior Jamal Shuler – cut the margin to 59-53 with 1:11 showing.
The Rams would trim the margin to four, at 67-63 with 7.6 second left on free throw by Lance Kearse, but Miami (3-0) went 10-of-10 at the free throw line in final five minutes to keep the Rams at bay. The Hurricanes were 27-of-31 from the charity stripe in the game.
“I thought tonight our team tonight had opportunities, though from effort standpoint I’m happy with how we came out and played,” VCU Head Coach Anthony Grant said. “We’re a young basketball team that will hopefully begin to learn that the game is decided with a certain level of discipline and level of execution, and by doing the things that affect winning. I didn’t feel like we did that on a consistent enough basis tonight to beat a team as talented and well coached as Miami.”
Miami’s Jack McClinton led Miami with 23 points, including five 3-pointers. McClinton was also huge down the stretch, banking home a 3-pointer when VCU had pulled to within 52-46, and then nailing a floater when UM pushed its lead back out to 59-46 with 4:00 left.
The game was a physical battle, with VCU pressing and trapping Miami into 22 turnovers, including 12 in the second half. Miami held a 45-36 rebounding advantage, with Anthony King hauling in 15 of his own for the Hurricanes.
Miami stormed to a 36-21 halftime lead, holding the Rams to 25 percent (7-of-28) shooting in the opening period.
The second half proved to be a different story, with VCU shooting 47 percent (15-of-32) behind Maynor, who knocked down 10-of-20 overall, and 8-of-13 after intermission.
“At halftime we were down 15 and coach told us that we weren’t out there executing, and there wasn’t enough discipline,” Maynor said. “So, we said what we were going to do in the second half was just go out there and try to fly around and play hard. We went out there and played hard, but the execution and discipline wasn’t there for us tonight.”
Shuler, VCU’s leading scorer, finished with seven points after being limited to 21 minutes due to foul trouble. Kearse added a personal-best nine points in the game.