The Virginia Commonwealth University Rams overcame a slow start to down the Long Beach State University 49ers, 73-67.
Virginia Commonwealth University survived Long Beach State University 73-67 Friday night in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
After a slow start to the first half, a slow end to the first half, and a slow start to the second half, the Rams showed just enough HAVOC! to walk away with their first win in Puerto Rico. VCU’s offense and defense looked better than Thursday night, but LBSU was able to hang in shot for shot for the first 30 minutes of the game. Point guard Michael Caffey played all 40 minutes and only turned over the ball 5 times.
The Rams trailed 50-42 with 13:46 remaining before HAVOC! was spotted in Puerto Rico for the first time all weekend. The Rams went on a 13-0 run which included three straight baskets from Juvonte Reddic. VCU finished the game on a 31-17 run to win by six.
Coach Smart entered the tournament wanting to play 11 or 12 players per game. With Jordan Burgess sidelined with a sprained right knee, the bench was already a little shorter, but only nine players made meaningful contributions.
The lineups also looked a little different than usual. Coach Smart regularly used Jarred Guest, Terrance Shannon, and Mo Alie-Cox alongside Juvonte Reddic, which allowed Treveon Graham to play the three-spot. After struggling against the length and size of FSU, it will be interesting to see if this continues.
Top performer: Briante Weber
16 points, 6 of 7 shooting, 6 rebounds, five assists, 2 steals, 0 turnovers
Briante Weber looked like the point guard who can lead VCU to a lot of wins over the next two years as he played the best game of his career. His offense was efficient and diverse. He hit his final six shots including a great pull-up jumper in transition, a dizzying spin move into a jumper, and an and-1. When he grabs six defensive rebounds, it’s almost as good as six steals because of his speed in transition.
When opponents break the press, it sometimes results in a two-on-one. Florida State University burned VCU multiple times by passing over the press. Weber’s recovery speed was exceptional on Friday night and he limited several easy baskets when the press was broken.
- VCU entered the game averaging 24.25 fouls per game but only fouled LBSU 11 times. They did an exceptional job defending with their feet.
- VCU is 12 of 49 (24.5%) from 3-point range in Puerto Rico.
- Juvonte Reddic now ranks 7th all-time at VCU with 18 double-doubles.
- Treveon Graham is 20-35 (.571) from 2-point range and 6-26 (.231) from 3-point range this season.
- LBSU’s starters played 174 of the 200 minutes on the second day of a back-to-back.
VCU returns to action Sunday against Georgetown at 2:00 PM. The Hoyas lost to Northeastern in the opening round before pounding Kansas State 90-63 in the second round.
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