After six days of rest, VCU picked up a quality win on the road over Charlotte, 68-61, Saturday night.
After six days of rest, Virginia Commonwealth University picked up a quality win on the road over Charlotte, 68-61, Saturday night.
On a night when Troy Daniels couldn’t seem to get things going, Treveon Graham was limited by foul trouble, and the referees called fouls on VCU at an incredible pace, the junior duo of Rob Brandenberg and Juvonte Reddic got things done for the Rams.
VCU’s defense began the game exceptionally well. Considering Charlotte’s inability to hit 3-pointers, VCU defended the paint at all costs while jumping out to a 22-12 lead. After Juvonte Reddic picked up his second foul, VCU struggled to find front court solutions as a Charlotte 10-0 run tied the game at 22. The teams traded blows until Darius Theus hit a beautiful mid range jumper while being fouled to put VCU up 34-28 at halftime.
The Rams wasted no time asserting themselves in the second half. Rob Brandenberg immediately grabbed a steal and converted it into a dunk, Treveon Graham drained a 3-pointer, and Juvonte Reddic and Darius Theus selflessly converted a steal into two more points giving VCU a 41-32 lead.
The 49ers would never get within striking distance again. While Charlotte scored with more ease after the first 10 minutes, Reddic and Brandenberg always had an answer. Over one stretch, the two juniors scored 16 straight points for VCU including a pair of 3-pointers by Brandenberg.
After using zone defense sparingly against Fordham, Coach Shaka Smart put the Rams into 2-3 zone with roughly two minutes remaining. While it was ineffective at stopping the 49ers, occasional zone defense towards the end of seasons has become a regular device by Coach Smart.
The Rams used a surprising amount of zone (for VCU) in their run to the Final Four, and it will probably be used occasionally over the next few weeks.
With the victory, VCU maintains their spot atop the Atlantic 10 tied with #14 Butler and Saint Louis at 7-2.
Top performer: Rob Brandenberg
21 PTS, 1 AST, 1 STL, 7-12 shooting, 3-5 3-point shooting
Rob Brandenberg showed his skills off early in his career when he scored 22 points on January 12th, 2011 against William and Mary. One week later he scored 23 points against George State. Brandenberg’s ability to score has always been a threat, but his inconsistency has kept him from being at the top of every opponent’s scouting report.
The same has been true this season. #11 went 5-5 from 3-point range in VCU’s big win over Memphis, but he followed it up with an 0-5 performance against Duke. A more under-the-radar threat than Graham, Reddic, and Daniels, Brandenberg’s inconsistency could be a strength moving forward. Brandon Rozzell was in a similar position before he scored 26 points against Georgetown in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. As this team’s X-factor, Brandenberg has an opportunity to be the difference over the challenging month ahead for VCU.
- Charlotte entered Saturday’s game a perfect 11-0 at home.
- VCU only tallied 17 rebounds. It is their fewest since before the 2000-2001 season.
- Troy Daniels has hit a 3-pointer in every game since February 8, 2012. That’s 34 straight games.
- Juvonte Reddic blocked three shots. It’s his highest total in more than a year.
- Charlotte was 1-7 from 3-point range. It is the fewest threes by a VCU opponent since Towson went 0-6 on February 8, 2012.
VCU hosts Massachusetts (16-6, 6-3) on Thursday, February 14th at 9:00 PM. The game will be broadcasted on CBS Sports Network.
— ∮∮∮ —
|E. Victor Nickerson*||31||8||3-4||0-1||2-4||2||4||1||2||2||0||1|
— ∮∮∮ —
— ∮∮∮ —