Freshmen Jordan Burgess and JeQuan Lewis combined for 31 points and a bevy of timely buckets, but VCU still fell short against Northern Iowa on Saturday.
Virginia Commonwealth University dropped their first game inside the Continental United States Saturday to Northern Iowa. After a sluggish first half, the Panthers topped the Rams 77-68.
VCU scored a season-low 20 points in the first half en route to another early deficit. Treveon Graham was limited to no field goals and one point before the break, and VCU’s only great games came from freshmen Jordan Burgess and JeQuan Lewis. The Rams hit just 8 of their first 30 shots which limited their opportunities to play full-court defense.
L · 85-67
W · 73-67
L · 84-80
W · 79-66
W · 81-68
W · 71-68 OT
W · 69-48
L · 77-68
VCU picked up the pace in the second half. Lewis hit a few timely buckets but Northern Iowa responded countless times with open 3-pointers. The reigning A-10 Rookie of the Week finished with 13 points including 3-of-4 3-point shooting.
Northern Iowa just didn’t run out of gas like other VCU opponents. They won countless 50-50 balls, they abused the Rams on the glass, and they hit more big shots. For the first five minutes, the Panthers didn’t really attack the glass. VCU’s transition game was so ineffective that UNI started looking for second chance opportunities. The Panthers entered the game ranked 293rd in offensive rebounding percentage but finished with 20 second-chance points.
VCU’s last loss came at the hands of Georgetown when the referees called 21 second-half fouls and 29 total fouls on the Rams. VCU averaged 22.7 fouls per game over their first seven games. Over the next three games that number dropped to 15 fouls per game. On Saturday they were called for 25 fouls.
Those last few whistles really hurt the Rams because of the bonus and double-bonus. VCU has been called for 16 or fewer fouls in four of their games and 21 or more in their remaining seven games. When VCU’s opponents get into the bonus, the number of points they score skyrockets. When VCU fouls 25+ times they are 1-3 with the only win coming over Virginia. Georgetown was the only of those games where VCU extensively used fouling down the stretch to stop the clock.
|16 or fewer||56||42||0.75|
|21 or more||173||200||1.16|
This isn’t to say the Rams are losing because of the referees. Some of the fouls called on them are soft. Sometimes a Ram attacks the basket and gets no call. Part of that’s the nature of having an aggressive reputation. Part of that is having three guys watch a game at full speed and try to make the best calls. Over the course of the season, good and bad calls average out.
The Rams return to Richmond with several concerning issues to address. Teams have been able to deny Juvonte Reddic the basketball and the Rams have struggled to score in the half-court, their half-court defense has struggled, and their best defenders are different players than their best scorers. Starters Briante Weber and Rob Brandenberg finished a mere 3-of-17 from the field. Weber’s shot selection was particularly frustrating. The Rams have their work cut out for them before they enter the difficult A-10 season.
Top performer: Jordan Burgess
18 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 7-13 shooting, 4-6 3-point shooting
Burgess’s offense has been a work in progress this season and spraining his knee didn’t help. He entered the game shooting 5-22 (.227) from 2-point range and 3-13 (.251) from 3-point range. Burgess picked up his first career start and on the Rams’ first offensive possession, he grabbed an offensive rebound and drained a 3-pointer. He would hit his next two 3-pointers and he was an important scorer down the stretch for VCU. His maturation and JeQuan Lewis were the two bright spots in an otherwise bleak afternoon for the Rams.
- Saturday was VCU’s first loss in December since 12/21/2010.
- Over the last four games, JeQuan Lewis is averaging 11.5 PPG while shooting 15-28 (.536) from the field, 9-16 (.563) from 3-point range, and 7-7 from the charity stripe.
- VCU scored 7 points in the first quarter of the game which is their worst offensive quarter since the 2nd quarter of last year’s Michigan game.
- VCU’s turnover differential by % is down to 8.3% after being 11.6% last season and 9.8% in 2012.
- The Rams rank 125th in 3-point percentage and 113th in 3-point defense, but they rank 236th in 2-point percentage and 271st in 2-point defense.
|Player||Min||TP||2FG||3FG||FT-FTA||OR||DR||PF||A||TO||Blk||Stl||Briante Weber*||32||8||2-8||0-3||4-4||3||2||4||4||2||0||4||Rob Brandenberg*||23||2||1-3||0-3||0-0||0||1||1||1||0||0||0||Jordan Burgess*||27||18||3-7||4-6||0-0||1||3||3||1||2||0||0||Treveon Graham*||31||18||3-8||3-7||3-4||3||4||5||1||0||0||2||Juvonte Reddic*||28||5||2-5||0-0||1-1||2||4||3||0||3||1||3||Melvin Johnson||20||4||2-3||0-2||0-0||0||2||2||1||2||0||0||JeQuan Lewis||17||13||1-3||3-4||2-2||0||1||3||1||2||0||0||Mo Alie-Cox||14||0||0-2||0-0||0-1||3||1||3||0||0||1||0||Terrance Shannon||6||0||0-1||0-0||0-0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||Jarred Guest||2||0||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||200||68||14-40||10-25||10-12||13||19||25||9||11||2||9|
|Player||Min||TP||2FG||3FG||FT-FTA||OR||DR||PF||A||TO||Blk||Stl||Deon Mitchell*||31||11||3-8||0-2||5-8||1||6||0||1||3||0||1||Chip Rank*||12||2||1-1||0-2||0-0||0||3||2||0||0||0||0||Matt Bohannon*||26||7||1-7||1-1||2-2||0||4||1||2||2||0||1||Seth Tuttle*||28||9||3-5||0-1||3-5||0||2||1||3||3||2||0||Wes Washpun*||33||9||2-3||0-0||5-7||2||3||3||3||3||1||3||Marvin Singleton||16||9||3-3||0-0||3-3||3||3||1||0||0||0||0||Nate Buss||23||16||5-5||2-3||0-1||2||5||1||0||0||0||1||Jeremy Morgan||23||13||2-4||3-3||0-0||1||0||3||2||3||1||0||Matt Morrison||3||0||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||1||2||0||1||0||0||Max Martino||5||1||0-0||0-1||1-2||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||200||77||20-30||6-19||19-28||11||30||15||11||16||4||6|
VCU hosts Wofford Tuesday night at 7:00 PM.
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