VCU won their last regular season game, clinched the regular season CAA title, crowned a new all-time scoring leader, retired a jersey, and heads into next weekend’s tournament the number one seed.
The game today was an Eric Maynor love-fest. Truthfully, I should just list all the ridiculous things that includes, but maybe if I spread them throughout the article the VCU athletic program will look less love-struck/fearful that they will never get someone like Eric ever ever again. Anyhow, in the most “If you do this said player is probably going to break his leg in the first two minutes of the game” jinx-y move I have ever witnessed, the athletic department surprised Eric by retiring his number/hanging it from the rafters BEFORE the game started. They also had an amazing Maynor/Rocky mashup which is just barely playing second fiddle to that jersey retiring stunt. In other pre-game news, the pep band played “Crazy” which is always my favorite, I wondered which team was collectively more attractive – dancers or cheerleaders, brainstormed about my opening day article next year (“Top 10 cheers you need to know b4 going to a Rams game”), noticed that the guitar player in the pep band was sporting a absolutely fabulous mask, and realized that the VCU dance team has an absolutely disproportionate amount of redheads.
VCU began the game on a 9-2 run with Larry Sanders starting the action with a post move that would foreshadow what would be a solid day for him (14 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals). After a scoreless nine minutes, Eric Maynor ended the suspense and hit a bucket to break the all-time VCU scoring record. Following E’s big bucket the Rams seemed to loosen up, stretching their lead to 14 with the help of their vaunted press and an offense that continued to find a way to get easy buckets. The half ended appropriately with a sick block by Larry, a finish by him on the other end, and, on the last real play of the half, a totally dope alley-oop, Maynor to Sanders. VCU was a woeful 11.1% from the 3 point line while Sanders and J-Rod (6’10 and 5’10 respectively) lead the team in rebounds. Sanders also lead the team with 10 points in the half but headed up a low post unit that was out rebounded 21-16. VCU forced 14 turnovers, outscored Georgia State in the paint 26-12 and held the Panthers to 33% from the field.
If you had the choice of Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Diet Mountain Dew, or Sierra Mist which would you choose?
Bolstered by a Larry Sanders post move, a K.P. steal and assist (an Eric to Larry beauty), and a Maynor three, VCU begin the 2nd half much like the first with a 9-4 run. The second half was the story of VCU just playing better ball than Georgia State. Better defense, better offense (despite a flurry of Ed Nixon missed layups), and better special teams. In the second half we shot 56% from the field, 50% from behind the arc, and 83% from the line. We pushed the lead to 28, with help from 24 points from our bench, and ended the game outscoring the Panthers 42-22 in the paint. They had 21 turnovers to their 4 assists, and their field goal percentages were atrocious – 33% from the field, 13% from three, and 37% from the line. J-Rod put in some quality minutes running the point, a hopeful turn of events for those of us looking toward next year. Even Gerard Smith looked good coming off the tippety-tip end of the bench.
The day was good despite some athletic dept stunts that were obviously ideas germinated by wise and cunning George Mason faculty/spies. We overcame those clowns and walked out regular season champions – which, of course, pales in comparison to tournament champions but is, nonetheless, something to be proud of. See everyone next weekend (12:00 Saturday) at the Colisuem!!!