Troy Daniel’s game tying 3-pointer with three seconds remaining missed against #13 Missouri Saturday night. The Rams fell to the Tigers 68-65 in their final game of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Troy Daniel’s game tying 3-pointer with three seconds remaining missed against #13 Missouri Saturday night as the Rams fell to the Tigers 68-65 in their final game of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Sophomore Briante Weber earned his first start of the season and the difficult task of guarding Phil Pressey. It took Weber 12 seconds to grab his first steal and VCU scored 6 early points courtesy of Treveon Graham and Juvonte Reddic. Things immediately slowed down and with the exception of three quick 3-pointers by Troy Daniels, the first half resembled the Duke game: VCU couldn’t force turnovers, and the Rams’ shots were not falling. Despite the problems, Missouri only led 30-28 at the break.
In the second half Phil Pressey pushed Missouri into overdrive. The Tigers’ first half offense was marred by poor shots and bad ball movement. In the second half, the ball movement drastically improved and Missouri found countless open shots. Only five minutes into the second half, Missouri hit back to back 3-pointers to earn a game-high nine-point lead. Rob Brandenberg responded with two straight 3-pointers, and Juvonte Reddic added a put back layup to score eight straight points, but the Tigers used a timeout to stop the momentum.
With 8:30 remaining, Pressey drove right and passed to the left corner on three straight plays–VCU simply could not keep him out of the lane. Missouri had a 59-53 lead with 4:40 remaining when Darius Theus took over. The senior point guard, who shot 4-20 in the first two games of the weekend, drained a 3-pointer, scored on a layup, and hit two free throws after a Briante Weber steal to take a 60-59 lead.
In the final 1:46, Phil Pressey assisted a layup, drained a 3-pointer, and hit a very difficult bucket as the shot-clock expired with 15 seconds on the game clock. VCU called a timeout trailing 68-65. Troy Daniels took a game tying 3-pointer from the top of the key, but it didn’t fall and VCU didn’t have enough time to earn another possession.
Phil Pressey finished the half with 8PTS, 6AST, and only one real turnover. After struggling against Duke, he proved why he’s elite, and while VCU contained him at times, they had no defensive answer when it mattered.
Top performer: Phil Pressey
11PTS, 8AST, 2REB, 1STL, 5TO
SEC Preseason Player of the Year, junior Phil Pressey, put Missouri on his back in the second half and led his team to victory. Pressey had a game-leading five turnovers, but he played 40 minutes and was the primary answer to VCU’s HAVOC! defense. At 5-foot-11, he has the ability to get so close to the ground and he simply dribbled straight past Briante Weber and Darius Theus. His ability to drive and distribute the basketball and his basket on the final play were the deciding factors of this game.
- VCU’s losses are to Wichita St., #5 Duke, and #13 Missouri. Those three teams are now a combined 17-1.
- The Rams lost their first back to back games since January 8th, 2012.
- VCU averaged 15.7 SPG in their three victories and 6 SPG in their three losses.
- VCU shot .442 from 3-point range in their three wins and .293 in their three losses.
- VCU lost their first rebounding battle of the season 36-25.
Last season, VCU competed in the Charleston Classic. The Rams left the tournament 1-2 and soon their record stood at 3-3. Coach Shaka Smart & Co. responded by going 26-3 in their next 29 games before losing to Indiana in the the Rams’ 2nd consecutive NCAA Tournament.
The difference: last season VCU lost to a decent Alabama, and mediocre Seton Hall and Georgia Tech. This season the Rams lost to two top-15 teams and an early surprise Wichita State. VCU won’t dominate in the Atlantic 10 like the CAA, but this team is undoubtedly more talented than last season’s squad.
Battle 4 Atlantis
The Battle 4 Atlantis was scheduled before VCU even went to the 2011 Final Four. As the season began, it became apparent that it would be the premier exempt tournament in 2012. While VCU leaves the tournament 1-2, they played three top-20 teams in three days and the Rams competed for all 120 minutes.
The Rams’ 78-65 victory over #19 Memphis put VCU on the national stage and in the semi-finals where they were guaranteed to play games against ranked opponents. On Friday, the Rams fell, 67-58, to the eventual tournament champion #5 Duke. The Ram’s final loss against #13 Missouri was a disappointment, but as ESPN’s Eamon Brennan pointed out, VCU is probably the best 3-3 team in the country.
Is VCU the best 3-3 team in the country? It’s not even close, right?
— Eamonn Brennan (@eamonnbrennan) November 25, 2012
VCU looks to bounce back Wednesday night at 7:30 PM against Stetson in the Stuart C. Siegel Center.
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