RICHMOND- There was no surprise that VCU came out ready to show why they were ranked #25 in the nation.
It was astonishing, however, that the Rams would play tremendous defense and take a lead that would not be vanquished.
Forcing 24 turnovers and establishing a brand of “HAVOC” that is common in the capital city, the Rams dominated the Trojans 90-53, leaving the Black and Gold faithful to look forward to the regular season.
The Rams improve to 7-0 all-time against Virginia State, including 3-0 in exhibition contests. Saturday’s game was the first meeting between the two schools since the 2007-08 season.
VCU’s Keshawn Curry stole the show knocking down 3 three-point shots and scoring 14 overall on 5-7 shooting. After the game, Curry told reporters his only goal was to get better.
“At the end of the day, everyone has a goal for themselves and their team,” Curry said. “If I don’t stop getting better I can’t add to the team,”.
Curry wasn’t the only player who looked dominant, senior Marcus Evans led all players with 15 points on 4-8 shooting, while junior Marcus Santos-Silva reminded Rams fans about his physical toughness, grabbing a team-high eight rebounds and three assists while chipping in seven points.
VCU outrebounded Virginia State 47-34, including 13-9 on the offensive boards, plus, all 14 VCU players that entered the game scored for the Rams.
VCU fans even got a good glimpse of freshman Arnold Henderson, nephew of VCU great Gerald Henderson, who played for the Rams from 1974-1978, and has his jersey retired in the rafters of the Stuart C. Siegel Center.
VCU shot 39.4 percent (30-of-65) from the floor, while Virginia State shot just 33.9-percent (19-of-56).
Junior forward Corey Douglas posted nine points and seven rebounds while going 3-of-5 from the field. After the game, Douglas said rebounding was the key to this game and going forward.
“Coach has been on us on rebounding….. that’s always an emphasis, getting into the paint,” Douglas said. “We always try to get at least 20 paint touches,”. VCU ended up with 32 tonight.
Leading 38-19 at the half, the Rams enhanced their offensive assault racking up over 50 in the second half through better offensive execution and taking advantage of missed opportunities by the Trojans.
Head Coach Mike Rhoades says the depth of the players contributed to the level of success that the Rams had during the game.
“We can play so hard because we can play a lot of guys,” Rhoades said. “We want to make it so hard to get the ball up the court and even harder to score,”.
The Rams will now have some time to prepare as they look forward to the opener against St.Francis, and then a Friday night clash with North Texas, before they turn their attention to their awaited bout with the Tigers of LSU.
For Coach Rhoades, he has one goal in life and it isn’t what you would expect.
“My goal in life is the game starts, I go leave and get wings and a couple of beers, then I get a call from one of my seniors that says ‘Coach we won by 20’” Rhoades said to a chuckle from reporters.
That is sure to get Ram Nation rowdy and ramped up. Basketball is back in the city and the journey begins.