Despite playing in the snow against a team that beat them earlier in the season, VCU looked dominant on Wednesday night against George Washington in a battle for 2nd place in the Atlantic 10.
Virginia Commonwealth University beat the snow and George Washington University Wednesday night as the Rams topped the Colonials 92-75 in the Stuart C. Siegel Center.
The Rams forced plenty of turnovers, but Wednesday was about offense for both teams. The Colonials took an early 10-7 lead but eight straight points by Melvin Johnson sparked an 18-2 VCU run.
The Colonials made moves to cut the lead toward the end of the first half but a dominant Juvonte Reddic dunk, Briante Weber steal, and Melvin Johnson floater gave the Rams momentum heading into the locker room.
Maurice Creek started heating up in the second half, and the Colonials cut the lead to 5-points, but VCU’s hot 3-point shooting continued. They were very effective attacking the 1-3-1 zone, a defense that gave them fits in their 76-66 loss to GW in January, and the Rams finished 13-of-25 from 3-point range. The Rams turned up the intensity down the stretch and ran away with the game 92-75.
VCU entered the night tied with GW at 7-2 in the conference, and they are now in sole possession of second place at 8-2.
Treveon Graham & Melvin Johnson
Despite Briante Weber and JeQuan Lewis combining for 11 turnovers, VCU looked crisp on offense and put up a jaw dropping 92 points against a top-30 defense. Treveon Graham and Melvin Johnson had two of the best games of their careers. Graham finished with a ridiculous 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, 1 steal, 1 foul, and zero turnovers.
Melvin Johnson finished with 21 points and hit five of his eight 3-point attempts. His spark off the bench was invaluable.
[Coach Smart] said I’ve been measuring out my shot, I’ve been hesitant…whenever he mentioned that he brings up me being at St. Benedict’s and not having a care. Tonight, before I checked in he was just like “don’t hesitate.”Melvin Johnson
If he can continue to play a Brandon Rozzell-esque role for the rest of the season like he did on Wednesday, VCU will score those extra five points per game that can translate into significant wins.
Rob Brandenberg also added 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting and 2-of-3 3-point shooting.
Top performer: The Crowd
107 dBs, sellout
“The MVP tonight was the crowd.” Coach Smart
Coach Smart wasted no time as he sat down and immediately declared the crowd Wednesday’s top performer. “I was going to tell the team that this is a reminder as to how special we have it every night. Then it was just as full and maybe even livelier than normal because there were some people here that might not usually be here.”
Coach Smart always compliments and expresses his gratitude for the crowd, but Wednesday was different. He spent almost five minutes of a 13 minute presser talking about the fans. The data don’t lie either. VCU hit a deafening 107 dBs after Melvin Johnson’s layup to cap off his eight straight points in the first half. For comparison, the loudest moment last season in a sell-out against Longwood was 103 dBs.
VCU recorded their school-record 48th consecutive sellout and 80% of the seats were full despite the weather. The fans were rewarded with great basketball and even better antics. Even before tip-off, Troy Daniels won the Papa John’s shootout by hitting four shots including a banked-in 3-pointer. After the tip, VCU tied a season-high with 13 3-pointers, Juvonte Reddic delivered one of his most memorable dunks, Rob Brandenberg dunked, Isaiah Armwood fouled out, and Coach Mike Lonergan was ejected after picking up two technical fouls.
As a region, Richmond does not handle winter weather very well. Ram fans went HAVOC! on the snow, and those who showed up contributed to an incredible environment and witnessed a great basketball game against a great team. VCU: 2, Snow/GW: 0.
- Melvin Johnson was an incredible +47 in the +/- category on Wednesday.
- Freshman Doug Brooks has attempted 36 shots and 25 3-pointers this season in only 66 minutes of game time.
- In his previous three games, Briante Weber had 7 steals and 10 fouls. Wednesday he tallied 7 steals and zero fouls.
- VCU’s last three opponents’ starters played an incredible 88.3% of minutes.
- After losing to a team, Coach Smart is now 23-4 in “revenge games.”
VCU visits first-place Saint Louis on Saturday. The Billikens are 9-0 in conference play and they’ve won sixteen straight games.
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- What to expect: If you ain’t first, you’re still not last
- Recap: GW exploits VCU’s weaknesses and puts A-10 on notice
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