Losing is tough but the Rams won’t have time to dwell as they prepare for the NCAA Tournament.
Virginia Commonwealth University lost 65-61 to Saint Joseph’s in the Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship Sunday afternoon in the Barclays Center.
Coach Shaka Smart thought the Rams took good shots and VCU only had 5 turnovers but VCU’s offensive woes ultimately left them short in their second consecutive A-10 Tournament Championship game.
The Hawks finished 24-of-50 from the field and the Rams finished 24-of-65. Saint Joseph’s attacked the paint early and often with Halil Kanacevic (11 points, 14 rebounds) and Ronald Roberts (15 points, 11 rebounds). The Rams responded by switching to a bigger lineup. Mo Alie-Cox and Juvonte Reddic were effective on defense but Reddic never got his offense going.
The Rams trailed 28-24 at halftime. After the break, their offense picked up but stops were tough to come by as guards DeAndre Bembery (13 points) and Langston Galloway took on a larger offensive role.
Langston Galloway was ultimately the difference. He played all 40 minutes and finished with 19 points including 5-of-8 3-point shooting. Coming out of a timeout with the game tied at 54 with 2:32 remaining, he faked a drive and nailed a contested 3-pointer that changed the dynamic of the final moments.
Seconds earlier Juvonte Reddic had missed back-to-back free-throws and seconds later he stepped out of bounds on a crucial play. If the Rams want to make the second weekend of the tournament, Reddic will need to play much better.
Halil Kanacevic was named the A-10 All-Tournament MVP. Ronald Roberts (SJU), Langston Galloway (SJU), Briante Weber, Rob Brandenberg, and Treveon Graham rounded out the A10 All-Tournament Team.
Let it hurt, but we can’t be down too long. Rob Brandenberg
The Rams can’t dwell on the loss for very long. Their NCAA Tournament opponent and seed will be announced on Sunday night and their preparations will begin almost immediately. VCU can use this for motivation but their ultimate objective should be to regroup and move forward.
Top performer: Rob Brandenberg
18 points (4-8 2PFG, 3-7 3PFG), 4 rebounds, 1 turnover, 1 steal
Senior Rob Brandenberg left it all on the floor. With injured Melvin Johnson out of the game, Rob Brandenberg took on an even bigger offensive role when the Rams needed him the most. He scored eight straight points for VCU in the second half and his play will be extremely important in the NCAA Tournament.
- The Hawks’ starters played 96.5% of the minutes
- The Hawks are the first team to post an assist-to-turnover ratio better than 1:1 since the Hawks on 2/8. Saint Joseph’s had 13 assist and 12 turnovers in both games.
- Sunday was Jordan Burgess’s fourth game this season going scoreless while playing 17+ minutes. He played 23 minutes.
- Briante Weber failed to record a steal for the first time since March 6th, 2013.
- VCU finished 8-of-15 from the free-throw line.
The NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday show will be on CBS at 6:00 PM.
— ∮∮∮ —
- What to expect: VCU faces Saint Joseph’s in A-10 Tournament Championship
- What to expect: VCU vs. St. Joseph’s
- Recap: Terrible call stymies VCU comeback
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