February has been tough for VCU, but it’s not time to light that page of the calendar on fire. The first half box score of Thursday’s game against Fordham? That’s an entirely different story.
After an entirely underwhelming 1st half, Virginia Commonwealth University ran past Fordham 85-66 Thursday night in the Bronx, New York.
After losing three of four games for the first time since 2011, VCU needed a confidence boosting win but they did not need to burn the February page from the calendar. After their 1st half against Fordham, burning the box score may have been worthwhile.
Melvin Johnson started in his home borough of the Bronx, but VCU looked out of sync even with the sophomore scoring sensation on the court. The Rams found themselves down by as many as 7 points, players not named Juvonte Reddic were 5-of-20 from the field, and Fordham was able to score far too easily. Still, the Rams were able to get things going and finished the first half on a 15-6 run in the final 5:50.
After what must have been some halftime speech (and I like to imagine a small bonfire of paper and some orange slices), the Rams stormed out of the locker room and never looked back. VCU hit seven of their first eight attempts from 3-point range and a close game turned into a rout in the blink of an eye.
Rob Brandenberg finished 4-of-4 from 3-point range, Melvin Johnson finished 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, and freshman Jairus Lyles capped off a confident performance with the first 3-pointer of his career. With six minutes remaining in the first half, Coach Smart was deep in the bench developing players and getting VCU’s top players ready for another turnaround in less than 48 hours.
Briante Weber did not finish the game with a sore foot but according to CBS he should be fine for Saturday.
Top performer: Juvonte Reddic
26 minutes, 22 points (8-14 FGs), 12 rebounds,
Before the 3-pointers started falling in the second half, Juvonte Reddic was reasons one, two, and three VCU went into the locker room with any lead. He was assertive, dominated Fordham on the offensive glass, and entered the locker room with 14 points and 6 rebounds.
He went straight back to business and had his 10th double-double of the season early in the second half. He would head to the bench and rest for a majority of the second half in preparation for Saturday’s battle with Saint Louis. Reddic is a player who thrives with momentum across games. Thursday was a good springboard for Reddic’s penultimate game in the Siegel Center.
- Coach Smart is now a perfect 6-0 against teams with Rams as their mascots.
- 4 points is Treveon Graham’s lowest scoring performance since fiishing with 3 points against UMass on 3/16/2013. It’s only his 3rd single digit performance of the season.
- Juvonte Reddic moved from 18th to 14th on VCU’s all-time scoring list with 1,382 points.
- Fordham blocked 11 shots. That’s the most blocks by a VCU opponent since before the 2000-2001 season.
- Mandell Thomas has 39 points against VCU this season.
VCU lost a tough battle at Saint Louis 64-62 on February 15th. On Saturday, the #10 Billikens visit the Siegel Center at 6 PM for a much anticipated matchup. They are the highest ranked opponent to visit the Siegel Center and the game will be on ESPN2.
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