After losing to Liberty in their previous exhibition, VCU Men’s Basketball took on Virginia Union Friday in search of a reboot. Siegel Center was rocking on a Friday night as these two local schools in the Commonwealth competed in an anticipated exhibition flashback.
Well Hello HAVOC. How Are Thou?
HAVOC made an early appearance on the court. Khris Lane made the opening basket after collecting the offensive rebound. From there, VCU recorded 3 steals in less than 3 minutes that lead to an early 7-0 run for the Black & Gold. During that run, De’Riante Jenkins lit up downtown from three-point range as the fans continued cheering.
Virginia Union called a timeout in an attempt to reset and refocus on their game plan. HAVOC chilled on offense with a scoreless run lasting for 3 minutes. The Panthers got out to the lead as Kori Cooley and Devin Moore started scoring for VUU. As the first half continued, VUU and VCU struggled offensively. The Rams kept hitting iron on numerous attempts around the court and the Panthers could not capitalize. Mike’l Simms picked up his second personal foul with 11:11 left on the clock.
Defense and rebounding led to a battle for team supremacy. HAVOC held the advantage with Marcos Santos-Silva and Sean Mobley providing glass protection off the VCU bench. Lane continued being a menace for the Panthers from inside the paint.
Malik, De’Riante, Buckets!
Jonathan Williams gave VCU and their offense a second wind. Williams got other Rams involved with his passing while his acrobatic finishes at the basket kept VCU ahead. Issac Vann partnered up with Williams to produce a fancy yet effective VCU backcourt. Malik Crowfield started to connect from three which furthered VCU’s advantage.
Even with Thomas scoring for Union, VCU continued pushing the tempo up. The Rams reignited on offense with an 11-0 scoring drive in less than 90 seconds. Crowfield finished his first half with 8 points and a steal and layup combo that had Ram fans beyond excited. Jenkins kept the party going into half-time with a last-second layup that ended up with a VUU goaltending violation.
At half-time, VCU held a 43-28 lead over Virginia Union. The Rams collected 25 rebounds and 6 steals during the first half. VUU recorded 11 turnovers and shot 31.3% from the field (10-32).
Another Defensive Round
HAVOC once again took over as the 2nd half started. With defensive pressure smothering the Panthers, Crowfield and Lane drove inside for layups and rebounds. Williams brought the hammer down after getting an open court steal followed by a double-handed throwdown.
Coach Rhoades and VCU were ecstatic as HAVOC continued turning VUU turnovers into points. The game worsened for Virginia Union as VCU produced an 8-0 scoring run that furthered the deficit to 59-36 with 15:17 remaining.
Buckets On Buckets On Buckets
VCU started the 2nd half shooting 64% from the field. Staying ahead of the Panthers, the Rams used their speed and passing game to increase VUU’s chances at a comeback. Bench production was giving Virginia Union support, however, VCU could not be stopped defensively.
Mike’l Simms went on his own 5-0 scoring run against VUU. Simms was on the right end of a VUU turnover that ended with a one-handed jam by him. Fans kept the support at high volume after Simms threw up a 3 Ball from the corner pocket to put VCU up 20 points.
Wait How Many Rams?
Six different Rams scored 10 points or more during the exhibition. Khris Lane led all scorers with 21 points and 8 rebounds against the Panthers. Issac Vann collected 17 points and 6 rebounds from VCU’s bench. Malik Crowfield had 14 points and shot 50% from the three-point spot. De’Riante Jenkins scored 13 points and Mike’l Simms got 10 points.
HAVOC was relentless against Virginia Union with 23 turnovers by the Panthers. VCU gathered 16 steals and scored 29 points off of VUU’s turnovers. On the fast break, the Rams outscored VUU 16-4. The exhibition ended 98-74 in favor of the Black & Gold.
Next up for VCU Men’s Basketball is the 2017-18 season opener against Grambling State inside the Siegel Center. Tip-off will be at 7 PM on Friday, November 10th.