Recap: Defense carries VCU past URI

VCU didn’t light up the scoreboard, but the Rams were brilliant on defense en route to a blowout against URI Thursday night.

Despite a sloppy second half, Virginia Commonwealth University handled the University of Rhode Island, 68-52, Thursday night in the Stuart C. Siegel Center.


Rhode Island led 7-5 at the 16:05 mark, but dominant defense by VCU quickly turned the game into a blowout. URI scored just one field goal during a twelve minute stretch as they watched that 7-5 lead turn into a 14-28 deficit. The Rams entered the locker room with a 41-21 lead at halftime.

Despite going 1-of-15 during an almost ten minute stretch in the second half, VCU never forfeited its double-digit lead. With a challenging game less than 48 hours away, Coach Smart used plenty of bench players for the remainder of the game. Nine different Rams played 15 or more minutes. URI finished 18-of-52 (.346) from the field, 3-of-13 (.231) from 3-point range, and turned the ball over 20 times all while looking lost against HAVOC!.

VCU attacked the paint early and often. Rhode Island is down to eight scholarship players because of departures and injuries, and their front line is undersized. While VCU’s shooting percentage wasn’t great, the assertiveness paid dividends at the free-throw line. VCU finished 5-of-13 from 3-point range which amounts to their second fewest attempts from range all season.

VCU’s balance continues to be one of its greatest strengths. Eleven different Rams scored including Juvonte Reddic (14 points), Jordan Burgess (11), Treveon Graham (10), JeQuan Lewis (8), and Mo Alie-Cox (8). Six players grabbed three or more rebounds, seven players dished out an assist, and nine players tallied a steal.

Briante Weber had a quiet night…for Briante Weber. True to form, he left us all another internet gem:

Loudest Moment: 106 dB. Jarred Guest, who finished with five rebounds in 15 minutes and who is “VCU’s best pressing big man” according to Coach Smart, grabbed an offensive board and scored while being fouled with 14:33 remaining in the game.

Top performer: Juvonte Reddic

14 points (5-of-11 FGs), 11 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 1 steal

Juvonte Reddic wasn’t without critics (myself included) during the non-conference schedule. Now he’s averaging a double-double in A-10 play with 13.4 PPG and 10.5 RPG. Thursday was his fourth straight double-double, and his consistency is the anchor of VCU’s current six game winning streak. For the rest of the season, it’s probably safe to say, VCU will go as far as Juvonte Reddic carries them.

5 stats

  • Juvonte Reddic became VCU’s 20th 1,300 point scorer.
  • Mo Alie-Cox entered Saturday 11-of-28 from the charity stripe. He’s hit his last 10 free-throws including 6-of-6 against URI.
  • VCU’s freshmen went 15-of-16 from the charity stripe, the rest of VCU finished 6-of-15.
  • Thursday was VCU’s 17th consecutive home win. They haven’t lost in the Siegel Center since 1/26/2013.
  • VCU’s first eight A-10 opponents are a combined 24-40. Their next four A-10 opponents are 24-8.

Looking forward

VCU visits Saint Joseph’s (15-7, 5-3) on Saturday night at 8:00 PM. The game will be on CBS Sports Network.

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Aaron Williams

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

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