Someone other than Eric Maynor and the Russian guy did a thing!
In the final seconds of the first half of VCU’s 61-44 win over rival ODU, Brandon Rozzell was sprinting down the right side of the court when he noticed that all defensive Monarch eyes were pointed directly at superstar Eric Maynor. With under 10 seconds left on the clock, you’d have to expect Maynor to perform some of his ridiculous ball-handling acrobatics in the lane, or to free himself for a half-ending three. Rozzell quietly set up outside the three point lane and waited.
Unlike the ODU defense, Maynor knew exactly where Rozzell was, and found him for a half-ending three-point shot to send the Rams into the locker room with a 9 point lead. ODU would never again come within two possessions of the Rams, and Rozzell would go on to post a career high 12 points on the board. After a first half that saw ODU go on a 10-0 run to bring the game to 20-18 with 6:40 remaining, a series of sucker punches concluding with Rozzell’s roundhouse kick sent a clear message to the few (noisy) ODU fans in the soldout arena: your team is not as good as our team is.
Despite a miserable shooting night from outside the arc, VCU played as tight of a game as they’d played all season, holding themselves to 5 turnovers and turning ODU’s 10 giveaways into 16 points. On the defensive side, VCU managed to hold a pair of ODU sophomore starters to zero points, keeping 15 points off the board. And, aside from a dumb foul by Larry Sanders early in the first half that sent him to the bench, the Rams kept the Monarchs off the foul line until the game was well in hand late in the second half.
Brandon Rozzell wasn’t the only one to step up on the offensive end, either: freshman foward Terrance Saintil had his best game of his young career, with 6 points, 3 rebounds, a block and an assist in 18 minutes. Larry Sanders also played well despite early foul trouble, with a game-high 16 points in 24 minutes and (by my count) three youtubes of the confused-looking opposing low block defenders.
What is most amazing to me about these VCU games is how fun they are. Is there any question that VCU basketball is far and away the premier spectator sporting event in Richmond?