A day after VCU Men’s Basketball thrashed La Salle 90-52 inside the Siegel Center, there was something that caught my attention. The Rams delivered the most lopsided and convincing victory on Broad Street since the 112-53 scoring fest in 2010 versus Towson. And the Black & Gold did that by doing what VCU does best: simplicity & hellacious pressure.
(GAME RECAP: HAVOC is BACK, VCU Obliterates La Salle)
Statement. Loud & Clear.
There was a lot riding on this La Salle game as tip-off drew near. VCU just lost 2 consecutive road games at Davidson and at Fordham. Let me rephrase that; 2 winnable games for VCU that turned into emotional defeats.
“Our backs are against the wall for awhile here…we just lost two road games that we had chances to win. We had chances in the last 6 minutes to win both of those road games and we didn’t get it done.” –VCU Head Coach Will Wade
VCU made the most of their opportunity on Sunday.
After the ball flew into the air as the tip-off was won by Mo Alie-Cox, VCU basically won the game. For 40 minutes inside the Siegel Center, Ram Nation witnessed prime golden age VCU Basketball; ball movement, crashing the boards, scoring buckets in bunches and HAVOC taking everything in sight.
During the Black & Gold madness, VCU didn’t really show off something brand new. In fact, the Rams just played simple basketball with unreal results. The little things like communication and valuing the ball came up huge for the Black & Gold. Adding this with that ruthless aggression and desperation for a win equals a gritty VCU squad that looked nearly unbeatable.
Play Simple, Win Big
Coach Wade emphasized on simplicity for VCU. The Rams needed to learn how to play without all that jazzy fancy stuff and work on the fundamentals. Against the Explorers, VCU had a fundamentally sound game beating La Salle in every category except for personal fouls and turnovers. Hint: That’s a good thing.
Inside the paint box, VCU established dominance once again. Justin Tillman brought back his bag of thunderous jams while Ahmed Hamdy collected his second double-double in 3 games. The paint appeared to have a welcome mat in front of it as VCU constantly kept knocking at the rim.
If that wasn’t enough for La Salle, the 3 Ball was back in working order for VCU. The Rams shot 50% from downtown in the 1st half alone and finished the day at 40%. This performance was the stuff of college basketball fantasy turned into hardwood reality. Coach Wade was happy to get back on track and thanked simplicity for the victory.
“Good to win. We played pretty well; We certainly needed to get back on the right track today. Played better, played very, very simple. And when you play simple and make simple plays typically good things happened. That’s what happened today.” –Coach Wade
HAVOC Is Everywhere
Sunday basketball inside the Siegel Center is a rarity. VCU brought out their best on the seventh day while Ram Fans unleashed their Sunday best from the stands. There was just something special about this VCU vs. La Salle game that showcased the best of the Black & Gold from all angles.
On that day, that was arguably the loudest I have heard the Animal roar this season. The one game that could have given the Stu a run for its money was the Princeton game after that 16-0 run for the visitors. There was just something a buzz in that arena on Sunday; fans were more rambunctious, the Peppas unleashed fresh tunes and prime #PeppaEffect and the players kept it going with good VCU basketball on the court.
La Salle was the Atlantic 10’s most productive offense coming into the game and VCU shell-shocked the Explorers. HAVOC held La Salle’s explosive B.J. Johnson to just 2 points at the line while going 0-for-8 from the field. La Salle was held to a season-low 29% from the field and 26% from the three point spot.
The Rams went after everything; from battling for loose balls and rebounds to staying tough through contact for And-1 opportunities. VCU played as if a chip was on their shoulders and mentally it was a pretty big chip. Dr. John Giannini simply stated that La Salle got obliterated by VCU.
“Everything bothered us. There’s not a single player or a single thing (VCU) did that did not hurt us.” –Dr. John Giannini, La Salle Head Coach
Now all Coach Wade has to do is figure out a way for his VCU team to play like this for the next 6 weeks. Simple right?
Just What The Doctor Ordered
A win is something that can cure the blues after a pair of harsh defeats. A shellacking of the Explorers may have been the dose VCU needed to get back in fighting shape for the Atlantic 10 regular season championship.
We’re rolling towards the middle of A-10 play and VCU’s next two games could make or break their title chances. The Rams host A-10 leader Dayton next up and follow that with welcoming cross-town rival Richmond to the Siegel Center. Both teams are neck to neck with the Black & Gold trying to grab the first place throne.
This win on Sunday showcased what VCU can do when the Rams simply play their game. VCU is not out of the woods yet with plenty of basketball left in the season. The Rams did what they were supposed to do on Sunday and now focus on their next task: Beating Dayton on Friday.
Business was handled with La Salle. VCU is feeling good and is preparing accordingly for Friday’s 1st place battle with the Flyers. The Rams have brushed off their embarrassing road performances and now look to build on this La Salle victory as A-10 play rolls along.
Simply Put: Do You VCU.
–#HamdyStrong: Ahmed Hamdy may have gotten his groove back. With his second double-double (13 PTS, 11 REBS) in his last 3 games, Hamdy is starting to become a force under the basket once again. His rebounding prowess is on a tear with 24 total rebounds collected in those last 3 games.
–3-Peat: For the third time this season, VCU managed to have 5 Rams score in double-digits. Sharing the buckets is a good thing.
–#MoSaysSupport: Mo Alie-Cox only scored 3 points at Fordham and against La Salle, the big man collected 2 points, 2 steals and 2 #MoSaysNo. Should you be concerned for #12? Considering that Mo now has a lot of support around him I wouldn’t be.
–Injury Bugs: Marquell Fraser sat out for the 2nd consecutive game due to a knee injury. Justin Tillman did suffer a right knee injury two minutes into the La Salle game. The Fro stated that he just popped it back in and he was all good to go; can’t argue with that behind his 16 PTS and 9 REBS performance.
–The Experience Looms: Doug Brooks got the starting nod vs. La Salle and scored 9 PTS while collecting a season-high 6 steals. Brooks had a good game while also pulling out some classic Dougie B. Grooves.
Ram Reminder: VCU Men’s Basketball welcomes Dayton to the Siegel Center on Friday, January 27th in a battle for 1st Place. That Atlantic 10 game begins at 9 PM on ESPN 2.