The Rams grow up quick against USF

The VCU Rams defeated the University of South Florida Bulls 69-46 Wednesday night at the Stuart C. Siegel Center. VCU! GO RAMS GO!

Despite selling out, the Stuart C. Siegel center still had some empty seats on Wednesday night as the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams hosted the University of South Florida Bulls. Ticket holders that decided to skip the game missed out on a show–a mistake that is going to be less and less likely as the Rams continue to mature. Despite some early season struggles, VCU surged in the second half to beat USF 69-46.

After twenty minutes of relatively slow basketball the score stood even at 28, but the second half ended up anything but even. While coach Shaka Smart started the exact same players in the first and second half, the team that exited the locker room after halftime was in a different league defensively.

Energetic and athletic guards Briante Weber and Rob Brandenberg led the charge as the Ram’s full court press forced USF guard Anthony Collins to rush and make several mistakes. By forcing turnover after turnover VCU not only fed their aggressive fast break offense, but they put on a show for fans who reciprocated by creating an insane home-court environment.

On the eve of his birthday, Darius Theus delivered one of the most efficient and responsible games of his career. While shooting a solid 60% from the field, he scored 13 points, dished out six assists, and did not turn the ball over.

Troy Daniels came off the bench and played his best game of the season. After only connecting on five of fifteen threes in the Rams’ previous home game against St. Francis (Pa.), Daniels hit five of nine attempts from beyond the arc. When Daniels hits the three, defenses are stretched and as Bradford Burgess puts it, “We are much more dynamic when Troy knocks down shots”.

USF is a very tall and physical team. Bradford Burgess usually plays the 4 spot, but Coach Smart instead started both Juvonte Reddic (6-9) and DJ Haley (7-0). After getting physically handled by USF in an overtime game last year, this year’s coaching decision yielded huge dividends as VCU scored 20 second chance points to USF’s seven second chance points.

Five stats

  • The game was a record 6th straight sellout
  • The first half both teams scored 28. The second half, VCU outscored USF 41-18.
  • Last year, USF out-rebounded VCU by 10. Wednesday night, VCU out rebounded USF by seven.
  • The Rams shot 8-14 (57%) from beyond the arc in the second half,
  • It took USF 14 and a half minutes to score double digit points in the second half.

Looking forward

The Rams will take on George Washington University on Sunday at 2:30pm in Washington D.C. as part of the BB&T Classic.

To stay up to date on all things VCU Basketball related, follow @rvaRAMnews on twitter

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Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams loves music, basketball (follow @rvaramnews!), family, learning, and barbecue sauce.

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