The University of Northern Iowa and Virginia Commonwealth University last night entered an offensive shoot-out that ended in a 77-68 victory for VCU in the Stuart C. Siegel Center.
Even before the tip, shots were dropping Friday night as a VCU student drained a half court shot to win 7,617 lucky fans free Papa Johns pizza. Once the game began, shots kept dropping as the University of Northern Iowa and Virginia Commonwealth University entered an offensive shoot-out that ended in a 77-68 victory for VCU in the Stuart C. Siegel Center.
In the first 94 seconds, UNI’s Johnny Moran drained two three pointers from the corner. As usual, it took VCU a little while to get going but Bradford Burgess quickly responded with his own 3-pointer. The shooting contest was on. Just when it looked as if Burgess couldn’t keep up with the five different Panthers that hit 3-pointers in the first half, Rob Brandenberg and Troy Daniels started knocking down their own shots from range.
Relive the game through the magic of Twitter! Follow the tweets and pictures from during VCU’s win over UNI.
The Rams offense has had its struggles this season, and no player has struggled more than Rob Brandenberg, but last night he put together his best game in the Siegel Center. #11 entered the game shooting 27.1% from 3-point range. Friday he knocked down his first two threes before finishing the game 5-7 field (3-5 from range).
VCU finished the first half looking more like last years team than this years team as they put points on the board and only trailed UNI 44-42.
After allowing a season high 44 points in the first half, VCU limited the Panthers to 24 points in the second half. Both team’s shooting cooled down, and with 5:07 remaining VCU led UNI 64-62. Just when it seemed as if VCU couldn’t find separation, Darius Theus took over the game. In a 35 second span Theus hit his first two shots of the game while grabbing two steals. Only a minute later he completed a three point play the old-fashioned way and proved that he might be the most clutch player for the Rams.
After what happened on Tuesday night against George Mason, no lead in the final minute looked safe. With 1:20 remaining, VCU led 71-66. While VCU had enough points to win, Darius Theus and Juvonte Reddic wanted to pad the lead. In the final 60 seconds Darius Theus posted two assists while Juvonte Reddic grabbed two rebounds and scored 6 points. In the final minute Juvonte Reddic simply took over by beating UNI in transition and scoring three baskets, including two dunks, that capped off VCU’s important Bracketbuster win.
Top Performer: Bradford Burgess
Fridy night Bradford Burgess led VCU with 17 points on 6-9 shooting (3-5 from range). After struggling with inconsistency, he might be playing his best basketball of the season. Over the past four games Burgess has averaged 19 PPG while shooting 52% from the field and a vintage Burgess 51.5% from 3-point range.
They aren’t who we thought they were or they weren’t who we think they are?
Friday night, the Rams looked more like the team that was expected than the team that has won 22 games. While “HAVOC” has carried the Rams through some rough shooting performances, Friday night it felt as if Brandon Rozzell, Joey Rodriguez and Jamie Skeen were back on the court draining 3-pointers. While Bradford Burgess is still here, Juvonte Reddic and Rob Brandenberg finally both had good games at the same time. After Brandenberg posted two 20+ performances as a freshman and Juvonte Reddic scored 12 points on Purdue’s Jajuan Johnson, the duo was expected to be a consistent threat for the Rams, but inconsistently has left certain questions unanswered.
Burgess clearly lead the team in offense, but if VCU can replicate the balanced offense of Friday night they will be a force to be reckoned with. Juvonte Reddic finished the night with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and his 4th career double-double. Rob Brandenberg finished with an extremely efficient 13 points on only 7 shots as he found his 3-point shot, but more importantly beat the Panthers in transition where his athleticism was unmatched.
Will it be enough?
Friday night Dan Dakich firmly remarked that VCU passes the eye test and they look like an NCAA team. That being said their RPI and SOS leave a lot to be desired. Beating UNI certainly helped the Rams case, but will it be enough? Their RPI improved to #75 with their win over the Panthers, and it could improve more. Now all VCU can do is win one game at a time and hopefully win the automatic bid in the conference tournament. One thing is for sure, VCU will be pulling for every CAA team to win this Saturday in their Bracketbuster match ups. Yes, VCU even needs to pull for arch-rival ODU.
- Bradford Burgess’s three 3-pointers pushed his career total to 212 which passed Joey Rodriguez for 2nd all-time at VCU.
- UNI and VCU shot a combined 14-19 from 3-point range in the first half first half
- Juvonte Reddic started the game shooting 0-5 before finishing 6-6.
- Deon Mitchell entered Fridays contest averaging 6.8PPG before he dropped 18 points on the Rams.
- The responsible Panthers turned the ball over a season high 19 times to the Rams.
Wednesday night, VCU travels to face conference foe UNC-Wilmington for their last road game of the season.
- Wednesday February 22. 7pm. UNC-Wilmington (9-17, 5-11). Raiford G. Trask Coliseum.
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- Instant Recap: VCU vs. Northern Iowa; RVANews
- What to expect: VCU hosts Northern Iowa (Bracketbusters Addition); RVANews
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