Recap: VCU opens season with win against FGCU

HAVOC! is back and better than ever. The VCU Rams beat the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles, 80-57, in Friday night’s season opener in the Stuart C. Siegel Center.

HAVOC! is back and better than ever. The Virginia Commonwealth University Rams beat the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles, 80-57, in Friday night’s season opener in the Stuart C. Siegel Center. 7,693 fans attended and it was VCU’s 19th straight sell out.


It took VCU the first 10 minutes of the season to settle in, but in the blink of an eye, the Rams returned to their 2011-12 late-season form. With 11:39 remaining in the first half, Troy Daniels drained a 3-pointer that kicked off a 35-10 run to end the first half.

The Rams found a nice balance of scoring between transition buckets and 3-pointers, but VCU struggled at times to score against FGCU’s 2-3 zone defense in the half-court. The Eagles tried desperately to find a way to beat VCU’s aggressive press by passing through it, passing over it, dribbling through it, and rushing the ball before the defense set up. Nothing worked very well.

Before the season, Shaka Smart said that all of VCU’s guards would play. Coach was not kidding. At times, point guards Darius Theus, Briante Weber, and Teddy Okereafor were all on the court at once. While it seems peculiar, after the game Shaka Smart said, “you’ll definitely see that again.” VCU wants to play more physically and aggressively than ever before, and Smart will likely use a large rotation all season.

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Getting Juvonte Reddic involved

It is no secret that Juvonte Reddic is one of the most talented players to ever wear black & gold, but the 6-foot-9 junior has disappeared at times. The Rams need to get Reddic involved, especially in the half court offense. The Eagle’s length and 2-3 zone was effective in limiting #15’s touches. The Rams benefit from running offense through him, and they need to focus on distributing towards the basket. With the ball in the post, Reddic has the skills to score in multiple ways, or he can dish it back out for a 3-point attempt.

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Top performer

Briante Weber: 13 points, 10 steals, 3 assists, 1 rebound, 3 turnovers

It was only a matter of time before Briante Weber started setting school records on defense. Not only did Weber break the VCU single-game steal record (seven steals done six times), he extended the record by three in only 18 minutes of action. #2 also tied his career high in scoring at 13 points on an efficient 6-7 shooting.

After the game, Weber commented, “I’m just as shocked as everyone else, I wasn’t counting. It’s nice, but that’s not what I’m worried about. I’m worried about being a team player and doing whatever it takes to help my team win.”

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5 stats

  • Briante Weber set a single-game school record with 10 steals.
  • The Rams tallied 20 steals which ties the program record set against UNCW last season.
  • Seven different Rams scored 8+ points.
  • The Rams out-rebounded the Eagles 43-29. VCU didn’t break 40 rebounds in the final 18 games of last season.
  • All six of VCU’s guards played 12+ minutes

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Looking forward

The Wichita State Shockers visit the Stuart C. Siegel Center on Tuesday, November 13 at 7:00 PM. In 2011, the Ram’s 68-67 victory in Wichita was instrumental in setting up their run to the Final Four. In 2012, the Rams topped the Shockers in the second round of the NCAA tournament 62-59.

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Aaron Williams

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

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