#22 Virginia Commonwealth University will seek revenge against Richmond when the Rams visit the Robins Center on Wednesday night.
- What: #22 VCU (21-6, 11-3) vs. Richmond (15-2, 8-6)
- Where: Robins Center
- When: Wednesday, February 25th at 7:00 PM
- Watch: ESPN2/U
- Listen: Rams Radio
Wednesday is the lone opportunity before Brooklyn for VCU to get revenge against a team that topped the Rams this season. On January 31st, Richmond beat VCU in the Siegel Center 64-55 on an afternoon when the Spiders dictated the tempo and the Rams couldn’t buy a 3-pointer.
Fortunately for VCU, HAVOC! has mastered revenge during the tenure of Coach Shaka Smart. Through six seasons, VCU’s young coach is a jaw-dropping 157-52 (.751). When refacing teams after the rare loss, he is 13-5 in the same season.1 When the domain is expanded to include games in later seasons, Coach Smart is 28-6 in “revenge games.”
Stats from the past won’t make Wednesday any easier in the Robins Center where the Spiders are 12-3 this season and have topped Saint Bonaventure by 19 points, Davidson by 26 points, Duquesne by 31 points, and most recently George Washington. Despite road struggles all season, the Spiders were unfazed by HAVOC! in the first meeting as they pieced together an 18-2 run and forced VCU out of their element. And that was with Briante Weber who tore his ACL, MCL, and mesiscus with just over three minutes remaining in the game.
Richmond had outplayed us leading into [the injury]. We didn’t lose the game because of the injury or the aftereffects of the injury. They outplayed us that day.Coach Smart
VCU will need to add an extra dash of edge to HAVOC! and poise if the Rams hope to move to 12-3 and remain masters of their destiny for both a conference title and a #1 seed at the Atlantic 10 Tournament in Brooklyn.
“They’ve been hard to press for many years.”Coach Smart
Richmond’s quick guards and able-passing forwards have been effective against the full-court pressure of HAVOC! since Coach Chris Mooney took over for the Spiders. When VCU isn’t forcing turnovers, Richmond’s Princetonesque Offense is capable of putting up points and more importantly dictating tempo. The Spiders boast the second most efficient offense in the conference and they will get the added boost of playing at home where they rarely struggle to score points.
VCU scored an abysmal 0.83 points per possession against UR earlier this season. The Rams finished 3-of-20 from 3-point range in the game and also only grabbed 2 of their 32 missed shots. The Spiders run a matchup zone that has troubled VCU at times. When the Rams aren’t forcing turnovers and getting out in transition, Richmond is capable of keeping the game in the 50s where the Spiders are much more comfortable.
VCU will struggle more than usual to get the game in transition due to the injury of Briante Weber and Richmond will struggle a little more than usual to defend without shot-blocking force Alonzo Nelson-Ododa who is out indefinitely with a fractured bone in his face.
Despite the injuries to two of the more exciting players in the conference, the game still promises to be a battle. VCU needs to impose its style in the backcourt, on the glass, and in the stands in order to be successful on Wednesday.
THE STAR: #0 Kendall Anthony
16.3 PPG (106-220 2PFG, 47-127 3PFG, 87-107 FT), 2.3 APG, 1.6 RPG, 1.5 TOPG
He’s got as much heart and toughness as anybody that we’ve played against.Coach Smart
On January 31st, Kendall Anthony had two points at halftime and his final visit to the Siegel Center looked like a bust. In the second half, he reeled off 20 points and led Richmond to its first victory on Broad Street since February 27th, 2001. Anthony’s skill and speed are only exceeded by his intangibles like heart and toughness.
Regardless of allegiance, KA 2.0 is fun to watch because he’s the hardest working player in blue and red, no matter how things are going-and it’s always a roller coaster. In A-10 play, he’s 4-of-24 on the road from 3-point range and 20-of-41 at home. He’s a lightning-quick, workhorse, senior guard who can catch fire and score in bunches. Yet other times, it’s a train-wreck. Wednesday could be his last-ever game against HAVOC!, so it’s worth sitting back and appreciating all of his intangibles.
#5 Trey Davis (G, Junior) • He’s an invaluable defender on the wing and while his stats aren’t gaudy, he starts because of his ability to do a little bit of everything.
#11 Deion Taylor (F, Junior) • Taylor shot 24-of-60 from 3-point range as a freshman and was a matchup nightmare. He’s 19-of-90 since then including 5-of-32 this season.
#10 T.J. Cline (F, Sophomore) • He hit 40 3-pointers as a freshman at Niagara before transferring to Richmond. At 6-foot-8, 240 pounds, he makes for a difficult matchup.
#15 Terry Allen (F, Junior) • Last March, Allen posted 27 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and three steals against Duquesne. He’s picked up where he left off last season. He’s second on the team in points, first in rebounds, second in blocks, and second in steals. He finished with 15 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 turnovers, and 2 steals against VCU this season.
#3 ShawnDre’ Jones (G, Sophomore) • He’s an exceptional offensive player, but at 5-foot-10, 155 pounds he’s a defensive liability, especially when he shares the court with Anthony.
KenPom picks Richmond to win 66-65 with a 52% chance of victory.
- Location: Richmond, Virginia
- Enrollment: 4,350
- Conference: A-10
- All-time Series VCU leads 45-27.
- Last Meeting 1/31/2015. Richmond won 64-55.
- 13-5 is below his career winning percentage of .751, but this is an impressive considering it is limited to teams that are capable of beating VCU in the first place. ↩