Goosebumps were the norm on Saturday February 26, 2011 as a fourth-straight sell-out said goodbye to one of the most the important classes in VCU basketball history. Unfortunately, VCU’s talent didn’t matter come game time and they found themselves down by as many as nine points. After 40 minutes of intense play, VCU lost their third straight home game 72-69.
Goosebumps were the norm on Saturday February 26, 2011 as a fourth-straight sell-out said goodbye to one of the most the important classes in VCU basketball history. Seniors Brandon Rozzell, Ed Nixon and Joey Rodriguez have won 96 games for VCU, which is second all time for VCU behind T.J. Gwynn. Add transfer Jamie Skeen into the mix and it is the first time VCU has had three 1000-point players since the mid 1980’s. Unfortunately, VCU’s talent didn’t matter come game time and they found themselves down by as many as nine points. After 40 minutes of intense play, VCU lost their third straight home game 72-69.
The NBA scout that I was seated next to way back in the press row summed it up pretty well, “That is the worst defense I have seen by a VCU team, ever. “
Their defense was horrendous. JMU scored 42 points in the paint, 14 second chance points and made scoring look way too easy. Humpty Hitchens went 4-5 from the three-point line and VCU could not compete.
After the game, Coach Shaka Smart said, “It wasn’t our day shooting from outside.” At some point, more accountability needs to be taken. VCU settled for very poor outside shots and they did not attack the paint. It has nothing to do with how they shot but rather the shots they took.
The one highlight came with 8:41 remaining in the game. Jamie Skeen stole the ball, took it coast to coast and took an impossible shot as he was fouled. Even the NBA scouts whose demeanor is somewhere between dead and dead showed signs of life.
Then the poor play continued. With 20 seconds left, JMU scored to extend their lead to 3 points. VCU put together one last play. Complete with too much dribbling, too much passing and no apparent plan, Brendon Rozzell missed two three pointers.
These seniors have taken VCU to the NCAA Tournament, NIT Tournament and they won the College Basketball Invitational. They have beaten top 25 teams, remained near the top of the mid major power rankings and have just played exciting basketball.
Now, after losing 4 out of 5 games, they are in a funk. I think this crew still has some magic in them and they can do well in the CAA tournament and whatever post-season tournament they enter.
The CAA tournament starts on Friday March 4th. VCU will play on Saturday March 5th. Ed Nixon said only one thing after the game, ”We’re gonna win the tournament.”
Here are 5 interesting statistics about the game:
- After winning 22 straight games at home, VCU now has a three game home losing streak.
- The game had 40 personal fouls.
- Brandon Rozzell hit one 3 pointer which ties him with Jamal Schuler for 5th all time at VCU.
- JMU missed the front end of three consecutive one-and-ones.
- At one point, JMU had 5 players on the court with a total of 18 fouls, none of their players fouled out of the game.