In Shaka Smart’s 100th career victory, the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams dominated the Duquesne Dukes in every phase of the game.
In Shaka Smart’s 100th career victory, the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams dominated the Duquesne Dukes in every phase of the game. The Rams’ 90-63 victory is their 13th straight, a streak dating back to November 24, 2012.
Early on the Dukes managed to keep it competitive–at least for the first six minutes. Then, Treveon Graham happened. Graham hit back-to-back 3-pointers, pushed the lead to nine, and VCU never looked back. At the end of the half the Rams were up 44-18. The second half was more of the same, but this time Rob Brandenberg took over on offense. It took Rob all of 1:03 to score six points and, suddenly the lead was 31. The only thing in doubt about this game was whether the Rams would win by more than 30.
The easy road win (in Pittsburgh, a town known for it’s love of Black & Gold) was Coach Shaka Smart’s 100th career win. He’s the second youngest coach to reach 100 wins, just the 12th coach to do it in four years, and he’s done it in 131 games–which is tied for 30th fastest. Coach smart had this to say:
“The thing is that’s just not my 100th win. It’s the 100th win at VCU for Coach Rhoades, Coach Wade, Coach Roose, David Hinton, Darius Theus, Troy Daniels, all those guys have been around for the last four years. Over that time we’ve made a lot of progress and they all had a huge part in it. Other than that, it’s just another win, we all want to win some more.”
For a team that excels on defense, this game was an offensive clinic. The Rams shot 58.5% from inside the arc and 38.7% from beyond. Rob Brandenberg, Treveon Graham, and Juvonte Reddic all scored double digit points, Melvin Johnson had eight, and the bench contributed 24 total. All eleven rams played minutes and only Weber walked away without any points. The Rams snatched up 20 offensive rebounds, the most since ETSU, and six more than their season average.
Coach Smart has got to be pleased with the way the team is shooting from range. After Troy Daniels broke VCU’s single-game 3-pointer record against ETSU, he’s been quiet–some of that is due to how teams are defending him and some of that is due to a bit of a shooting slump. Daniels went 1-10 (albeit a very important 1-10) against St. Joseph’s and 2-8 against Duquesne. He looked frustrated at times and had a couple sloppy fouls. But, unlike the St. Joe’s game where the Rams shot 7-32 (21.9%) from range, this game Brandenberg and Graham were there to pick up the slack. Brandenberg went 5-8, Graham was 5-9, and Daniels contributed two on eight attempts. It’s the best shooting game the Rams have had in a while, and, with any luck, a sign of things to come.
Top performer: Rob Brandenberg
You gotta go back to the Lehigh game to find a game where we awarded Top performer to someone not named Treveon Graham. And, honestly, you could make a good case for Graham in this game too. But Brandenberg’s 22 points are his season-high, and just one shy of his career record. Coming out of the halftime break, he looked like a man possessed–sometimes you forget just how fast Brandenberg is. His five 3-pointers tie his season-record, set at Memphis when he went a scorching 5-for-5 from range.
- Darius Theus’s four steals put him at 203 for his career. That’s good for third place on VCU’s all-time steals list (Joey Rodriguez is #2 at 237).
- Troy Daniels now has over 200 career 3-pointers. He’s fourth on VCU’s career 3-pointer list (Joey Rodriguez is #3 at 211)
- Treveon Graham has scored more than 15 points in the last six games, and more than ten points in the last 12 games. He’s averaging 21.5 points in A-10 games.
- The Rams hit 6-of-13 free throws, only 46.2%. That’s a season low, and the second fewest free throws attempted in a game this season.
- D.J. Haley’s six points tie his season-high. He also picked up five rebounds.
VCU heads across town this Thursday to take on the University of Richmond Spiders at 7:00 PM.
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