A day after VCU Men’s Basketball claimed another Atlantic 10 victory at Duquesne, the Rams sit at 2-0 alongside Dayton, Rhode Island, and Richmond. 2 for 2 in conference games on the road, multiple Rams stepping up to the occasion and even VCU Men’s Basketball Head Coach cracking a joyful smile from the sidelines. There’s a handful of reasons why Ram Nation is all smiles currently.
The Samir Doughty Show
The Philadelphia native put on a breakout performance in his home state of Pennsylvania. Samir Doughty answered the question of who on this VCU team would step up in the absence of fallen comrade De’Riante Jenkins due to a foot injury. Doughty was in his zone against the Dukes with a career-high 23 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.
Another impressive stat from this performance is that Doughty scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half. There was a green light for the redshirt freshman as he continuously drove to the rim with reckless abandon. Things got even more entertaining when Doughty was able to connect from downtown. Twice.
Watching the way Doughty play basketball is something truly remarkable. Granted he had a year of preparation as a redshirt but the way Doughty uses his speed to get by defenses is unreal. Add that with more point guard experience running the VCU offense is making people pay attention to this kid out of Philly.
Coach Wade famously stated that opportunity is always there for those that work. Clearly, Samir Doughty has been working and cashed in on the opportunity at Duquesne.
The Paint is VCU’s Friend
VCU showcased what the Rams are capable of doing when the paint game is established early. The Black & Gold kick started Mo Alie-Cox early and often while scoring 18 points and not missing any of his 9 field goals; numerous thunder-like jams and some mid-range jumper goodness by #12 satisfied his hunger for buckets.
Justin Tillman delivered off the bench once more with 16 pts and 7 rebounds. The Fro was flexing his rebounding prowess against Duquesne’s bigs and winning that battle single-handedly against tremendous pressure. JeQuan Lewis and Jonathan Williams couldn’t let the VCU forwards have all the fun as the guard duo dashed inside for layups and quick jumpers.
Inside that painted rectangle is where VCU truly shines. The Rams shot nearly 57% from the field which is their best shooting performance to date. Paint performance was good with VCU outscoring Duquesne 46-38 near the rim. Additionally the Black & Gold only attempted 12 three pointers for their lowest game total of the season.
This is what Coach Wade wanted out of his VCU team: Value the ball, feed it inside, score buckets and repeat. Now it appears that the players have received that message and look forward to executing the game plan on the nightly basis.
Buffing Out The Flaws
Turnovers, the VCU problem that just won’t go away. The Rams with 16 turnovers against Duquesne with the majority coming off overthinking with the basketball. An unnecessary pass or a dish that just missed the mark was rough especially when Duquesne scored 24 points off Black & Gold turnovers.
Ever since the team as a whole has been preaching about valuing the ball, turnovers have been a hit or miss kind of issue. VCU’s magic number is 12 turnovers at the max per game yet the Rams have only had 5 successful games with 12 or less out of 15 contests. On the flip side, VCU has still managed to find a way to win basketball games along with their fumbling issue which dulls the pain slightly.
In this instance winning is the best healer as a permanent solution is in the workings. There have been glances of ball control brilliance by VCU as a whole however the ball somehow just gets away from the Rams’ grasp. Similarly to the stock market on Wall Street, turnovers quickly go on the rise then slowly decrease back to normality. Especially if the winning continues to smother the agony of VCU’s turnovers.
Besides turnovers, HAVOC has actually been rather productive in A-10 Play. Defensively the Rams have forced 32 turnovers in their first two conference games (George Mason: 17, Duquesne: 15). While there were a couple of instances of Rams missing their defensive assignments or unable to fight through the pick-and-roll, HAVOC is making a good adjustment to conference play.
There’s still work to be done on both sides of the basketball for the Rams. Whatever VCU is doing is clearly working on this six-game winning streak as a result.
Back To Business At The Stu
After two successful A-10 road trips, VCU returns back to the Siegel Center for their next pair of Atlantic 10 games. First up is Massachusetts as the visitors this Saturday followed by George Washington next week. UMass currently sits at 0-2 in the A-10 while the Colonials are 0-1 following their loss at Sian Joseph’s.
If VCU handles business at Siegel Center then the Rams truly have what it takes to go far in conference play. We are still in the early skirts of A-10 play but after going 2 for 2 on the road, VCU is feeling themselves at this moment. They are on the right side of the table in a battle for 1st place and look to eliminate the contenders towards the throne.
VCU Men’s Basketball
I can feel a cheesy grin forming on my face. The process is still in motion to improve in certain areas of the game for VCU. When you look at the record above, you can’t help but be satisfied with the results. Nearly halfway done with the season and the Black & Gold are rolling strong into Atlantic 10 play with #Back2Back road wins.
We see you VCU. Trust The Process.
–Praise From The Opposition: Duquesne Head Coach Jim Ferry had some kind words about VCU as a basketball program since joining the Atlantic 10. Ferry stated that VCU “has set the bar in the Atlantic 10 for what everybody has to be.” Full clip via a #TWEET from @DistrictBaller.
–5 Rams with the Double: Samir Doughty (23 PTS), Mo Alie-Cox (18), Justin Tillman (18), Jonathan Williams (13) and JeQuan Lewis (11) in double figures against Duquesne. What’s not to love about that?
–2nd Half Greatness: As a team, VCU had one hell of a 2nd period. The Rams shot 62.5% from the field while nailing 3-of-6 from downtown at 50%. One of the most productive halves performed by VCU this season.
–Fro vs. Atlantic 10: This #StatistacalTweet by @VCUHorns explains Justin Tillman’s dominance in conference play just under 140 characters.
–VCU Makes & Breaks Streaks: During the Black & Gold’s current 6 game winning streak, VCU has now broken George Mason’s 9 game winning streak followed by halting Duquesne’s 4 game streak on the road.
Ram Reminder: Up next for VCU is UMass on Saturday, January 7th. Tip-Off set for 1 PM inside the Siegel Center on NBC Sports Network.