RICHMOND- If the bus ride or flight back from Massachusetts involves players and coaches seething in anger or has tears streaming down their faces, it’s for a legit reason.
5 straight losses for the team that everyone had picked as the pre-season favorite to win the conference. That dream is no longer on the mind of any VCU fan.
The 60-52 loss put the Rams record at 17-11 and 7-8 in A-10 play. The Minutemen of UMass? Not even 0.500 and they found a way to take over in the second half.
The Minutemen move to 13-15 on the year and also are 7-8 in A-10 play. UMass is now 8th in the Atlantic 10 while VCU is 9th.
The Rams have now dropped the most games in a row since January-February 1998. I wasn’t even born when this streak happened.
Captain Carl Pierre and freshman sensation Tre Mitchell combined for 40 points to help the Minutemen get their most conference wins since 2014-2015 and get their fourth straight victory.
Marcus Santos-Silva led VCU with 14 points and 11 rebounds. De’Riante Jenkins had 13 points and seven rebounds. But it wasn’t enough to preserve their halftime lead.
“This losing streak is a big deal to the VCU community because basketball is obviously one of the sports we specialize in”, Pedro Coronado said.
Both teams shot over 40% in the first half, but it was the freshman Mitchell who imposed his will over Santos-Silva as the better big man for his team.
Going into the half, VCU led 33-28, but recent history showed that if the Rams got down after being in the lead, the straw that broke the camel’s back would emerge.
VCU led by as much eight points during the game. But sure enough, the Minutemen settled down and proceeded to claw back into the game and ultimately took a 48-43 lead that would would stay the same for the rest of the contest.
“Most of the team are seniors”, David Powers said. “Likely there is a coaching problem”.
BINGO. That’s the issue. Head coach Mike Rhoades has struggled with adjustments. The latest being in this case where the Rams shot 22% in the second half.
A low percentage shooting cannot and will not win a game. The amount of talent on this team is too good to let go to waste considering who these players are and what they mean to the Richmond community.
31.6% FG and 29.4% on 3-PT against Massachusetts going 42.9% on FT and 36.8 % on 3-PT combined with being out-rebounded 37-35 translates to a loss.
Fans in Richmond cannot hide frustration any longer and took to Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms to vent and spill their outrage.
Others meanwhile, are rejoicing in the fact that VCU is losing. Beat writers have mocked the Rams faithful during this losing streak.
From making fun of signs, to taunting the Rowdy Rams student section, those pre-season rankings are clearly on the minds of everyone who faces VCU this year.
“It’s incomprehensible how we return basically every player and have promising freshmen and become worse”, Daniel Macchiavello said “Such a shame”.
He’s right. Except for a few minor changes, this was VCU’s squad from a year ago that won the regular season title and made the NCAA tournament.
Where did that team who won 25 games last year go and replace it with this lookalike?
The new year and a new decade was supposed to bring hope and joy. Instead, there is misery and disbelief.
From 6-0 and riding high, to a heavy crash landing by being 500 in their next 22 games.
The sellout streak stands at 150 straight and it may continue, but if the team doesn’t pick things up this season, they will be forced to play a Day 1 game in the A-10 tournament.
Considering how this season is shaping out to be, an early exit from Brooklyn isn’t out of the question.
VCU’s next game is against George Washington at home on Saturday @ 4pm. The game is to be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.