Confirmed: When VCU and Saint Louis play, college basketball wins.
A late Rob Loe 3-pointer protected Saint Louis from a Virginia Commonwealth University comeback Saturday afternoon as the Billikens topped the Rams in Saint Louis 64-62.
With 5:03 remaining, Saint Louis had a 53-44 lead and their defense looked impenetrable. In the most VCU way imaginable, Briante Weber, Juvonte Reddic, and Treveon Graham reeled off nine straight points to tie the game at 53-53 with 2:20 remaining.
Saint Louis responded with seven straight points including a clutch 3-pointer with 37 seconds remaining by 6-foot-11 Rob Loe but Reddic immediately scored on an and-1 opportunity off of a Briante Weber assist. Reddic would score on a put-back as time expired to put the score at 62-64 but it was too little, too late.
Both teams are the class of the Atlantic 10 and in many ways represent all of the best in college basketball. Saint Louis will visit the Siegel Center on March 1st and both teams look poised to make runs in Brooklyn during the Atlantic 10 Tournament. Regardless of the result, it’s probably safe to say basketball wins when these two teams play.
Losses sting, but this is an easier pill to swallow than any of the Rams’ other five losses. In addition to being an incredibly classy program, this Billikens’ team is the culmination of the vision of Rick Majerus. VCU took that team, that team that has won 17-straight games, that team that has the #2 defense in the country, that team that has only lost to Wichita St. and Wisconsin–and took them to the brink in their own house.
Briante Weber showed more grit in a game that truly mattered than he ever has in his career. He finished with 12 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block, 3 steals, and 3 turnovers. Juvonte Reddic also played an inspiring game but he was limited to 26 minutes by fouls. He finished with 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting, 9 rebounds, and a block.
The game was a bruising defensive battle that lived up to the hype of two top-10 defensive teams playing. SLU scored .90 points per possession and VCU scored .87 points per possession. VCU’s 17 forced turnovers were enough to win the game, but SLU’s stout defense forced the Rams into 13 of their own mistakes.
This game was ultimately decided at the 3-point line on both ends of the court. VCU finished 2-of-16 from 3-point range, and while SLU’s points came on several beautiful entry passes in the low post and some gritty offensive rebounding, the Rob Loe 3-pointer was an insurmountable blow to VCU’s pride inspiring comeback. Not that it wasn’t before, but Chapter Two on March 1st is circled on the calendar.
The win leaves Saint Louis (23-2, 10-0) with an impressive and nearly insurmountable three game lead over the rest of the A-10. VCU is now in second at 8-3 with Richmond and Saint Joseph’s right behind at 7-3.
Top performer: Dwayne Evans
21 points (8-13 2PFG), 10 rebounds, 5 turnovers, 1 assist, 2 blocks
Dwayne Evans may be the best two way player in the Atlantic 10. His best competition is his teammate Jordair Jett. Evans seemed to always be in the right place on both ends of the court. He made countless heads up plays, limited Treveon Graham to an inefficient shooting night, and was the best player in a game littered with names that will receive all-conference honors.
- SLU’s senior starting lineup played 86% of the minutes, scored 97% of the points, and hit 100% of the Billiken’s field goals.
- Saint Louis is the first team to beat Coach Smart three straight times.
- .125 is VCU’s worse percentage from 3-point range since topping W&M in overtime on 1/9/2012.
- Saint Louis outscored VCU 39-21 in the middle 20 minutes of the game. VCU outscored Saint Louis 25-15 in the final 10 minutes of the game.
- Briante Weber is one steal away from tying his VCU single-season record of 98 steals.
|Player||Min||TP||2FG||3FG||FT-FTA||OR||DR||PF||A||TO||Blk||Stl||Briante Weber*||35||12||5-10||0-1||2-4||3||6||4||5||3||1||3||Rob Brandenberg*||32||7||2-5||0-2||3-4||0||1||4||1||0||0||3||Jordan Burgess*||23||5||1-3||1-4||0-0||0||0||1||0||2||1||1||Treveon Graham*||33||16||6-14||0-5||4-4||1||7||4||0||0||0||1||Juvonte Reddic*||26||13||6-9||0-0||1-1||3||6||4||0||4||1||0||Melvin Johnson||25||3||0-4||1-4||0-0||1||0||0||1||1||1||0||Mo Alie-Cox||12||4||2-2||0-0||0-0||2||2||1||0||0||1||0||JeQuan Lewis||6||0||0-0||0-0||0-0||1||0||4||0||2||0||0||Jarred Guest||5||2||1-1||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||1||1||Terrance Shannon||3||0||0-1||0-0||0-0||2||0||2||0||0||0||0||62||23-49||2-16||10-13||12||24||25||7||13||6||9|
|Player||Min||TP||2FG||3FG||FT-FTA||OR||DR||PF||A||TO||Blk||Stl||Jordair Jett*||37||14||5-9||0-1||4-9||0||6||3||5||3||2||1||Mike McCall Jr.*||34||12||2-5||2-3||2-2||0||4||1||4||2||0||2||Jake Barnett*||33||1||0-0||0-2||1-2||0||4||0||0||0||0||1||Dwayne Evans*||33||21||8-13||0-0||5-6||3||7||3||1||5||2||0||Rob Loe*||34||14||3-6||2-5||2-5||1||3||2||2||4||1||2||Austin McBroom||14||2||0-2||0-1||2-3||0||1||3||0||0||0||0||Grandy Glaze||9||0||0-2||0-0||0-0||0||4||1||0||1||0||0||John Manning||6||0||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||2||0||2||0||0||64||18-37||4-12||16-27||9||29||15||12||17||5||6|
VCU has the week off before traveling to Massachusetts on Friday at 7:00 PM on ESPN2. After an unreal 16-1 start to the season, the Minutemen are 6-4 in conference play and they lost at home to George Mason on Wednesday.
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