ODU used a dominant first half to top VCU 73-67 in Norfolk Saturday afternoon.
The Monarchs simply played with more energy and poise in the first half than the Rams. Their defense held VCU to 18 points, the Monarchs only turned over the ball four times, and ODU started 5-of-7 from 3-point range.
VCU had plenty of sparks in the second half, but nothing seemed to catch. The Rams went just 13-of-22 (.591) from the charity stripe, they had opportunities in transition but failed to convert, and Treveon Graham finished with 34 points but the Rams couldn’t find points from anyone else.
Graham’s 34 points ties his career high from a double-overtime victory against La Salle last season. He finished 6-of-10 from 2-point range and 6-of-11 from 3-point range. ODU’s Aaron Bacote entered Saturday afternoon 4-of-25 from the field and 3-of-13 from 3-point range. Against VCU, he finished with 31 points on 8-of-8 shooting.
The Rams finished the week the same way they started it against Villanova, by paying the price for their weaknesses: half-court offense, half-court defense, free-throw shooting, and fouls.
VCU has plenty of work to do as they move into a challenging December that includes games against Virginia (7-0), Northern Iowa (6-0), Belmont (5-1), and Cincinnati (5-0).
- Neither team attempted a free-throw in the first half. 52 free-throws were attempted in the 2nd half.
- Since the Final Four, VCU is 14-10 (.583) in November and 69-17 (.802) in all other months combined.
- Coach Smart challenged Mo Alie-Cox to grab 10 rebounds. He tallied 13.
- VCU scored 18 points in the first half and 49 points in the second half.
- Treveon Graham now has 1,454 career points and he passed Juvonte Reddic (1,438) to move into 14th all-time at VCU.
VCU travels to Illinois State on Tuesday at 8:00 PM. The Redbirds are 2-2 but beat Old Dominion by 19 points last weekend.
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