Sunday night basketball at the Siegel Center is one of those rare but welcoming occurrences to Broad Street. VCU found themselves in a wild card battle of their own versus Missouri State who entered the Stu on a three-game winning streak. This was the first meeting between the two schools and HAVOC made quite the introduction to the Bears from the Valley.
HAVOC brought the ruckus on defense forcing 4 turnovers from the Bears in the opening 4 minutes. Mike’l Simms started VCU on offense from three which led to a 7-0 run out the gates. Issac Vann kept the Rams’ roaming on a monster put-back dunk as the VCU Senior came crashing through the paint without warning.
Turnovers were Missouri State’s main issue in the first half. The Bears had 16 turnovers in the first half; one turnover more than their season average of 15 per contest. HAVOC turned those fumbles into 14 points to keep the Black & Gold ahead on the scoreboard. VCU managed 11 steals in the first 20 minutes of the contest.
More Minutes, More Production
With Malik Crowfield out due to injury, Coach Rhoades turned to VCU bench for minutes. KeShawn Curry and Bones Hyland kept the level of play up in VCU’s second string. Tre Clark made his first appearance since the FGCU game and scored his first collegiate bucket from downtown and got a steal. VCU’s bench scored 14 points in the first half.
Vince Williams scored the exclamation point with a three-pointer at the buzzer putting VCU ahead 35-25 at halftime.
We’re Talking About Confidence
KeAndre Cook brought the game to HAVOC to start the second half. Cook hit a quick jumper followed by an uncontested layup to get the Bears roaming early. VCU was 0-for-3 from the field until Marcus Santos-Silva got inside for VCU’s first bucket to keep the lead at 8 points.
Just as Missouri State started getting a run together, Mike’l Simms silences the Bears. Corey Douglas forced a turnover from the Bears as VCU launched a counter. Simms was left wide open from the wing and nailed his third three of the night to put VCU up 46-36. An ecstatic Simms brought life back to the Siegel Center and his fellow teammates before the next media timeout.
“Coach and my teammates kept telling me to play with a lot of confidence and it was just one of those nights where I felt confident.”
–Mike’l Simms, VCU Senior Guard
Good To See You Again Turnovers
Once again turnovers trapped the Bears on a possible comeback. 10 2nd half turnovers resulted in 26 total turnovers for Missouri State. This was the third game of the season that VCU forced 25 turnovers or more from their opponent.
“The main focus is just getting stops on defense. Eventually the shots are going to start dropping.”
–Issac Vann, VCU Senior Forward
The shots were lukewarm for the Rams on this night shooting 33% from the field and 9-of-23 from three. HAVOC slammed the cage shut on the Bears to lock up a 61-51 victory for VCU over Missouri State in the first-ever duel. Mike’l Simms led the Rams with 11 points including 3 three-pointers. De’Riante Jenkins scored an additional 10 points. Rams improve to 8-2 overall looking just outside the Top 25.
A Win. Now Back On The Road
The Black & Gold are 8-0 at the Siegel Center on the season and have won their last 19 home games consecutively dating back to last season. Tonight’s win was VCU first win shooting below 35%; VCU was 1-3 last season in this statistic.
VCU Men’s Basketball returns to action on the road at the College of Charleston. The Rams battle the Cougars at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, December 18th. VCU seeking revenge from last season’s 83-79 home defeat versus Charleston.