Jan 3, 2014; Richmond, VA, USA; Virginia Commonwealth Rams head coach Shaka Smart during the game against the Stony Brook Seawolves at Stuart C. Siegel Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Duquesne @ VCU

The Dukes exceeded expectations in the first and did what a lot of teams don’t do well against VCU, take care of the basketball. In the second half, HAVOC reared it’s ugly head allowing the Rams to take control. Lost in the flurry of turnovers, the Rams dominated the glass in the second as well after the Dukes kept it close in the first.

The Good

FT shooting. Dukes hit twelve of their first fourteen from the stripe in a tough free throw shooting environment. They looked quite good there and it was really the only way they scored consistently in the second.  They finished hitting 75%.

The Bad

Second half response to pressure. The Rams didn’t hit a ton of shots in the first half to set up their defense, but when they got hot in the second, they quickly turned the momentum.

The Ugly

Second half shooting. The Rams limited the number of shots Duquesne got in the second but the Dukes did a poor job when they did get them. The bad shot selection began with the first possession of the second half on an early shot clock three by Derrick Colter.

The Moment I Knew I Was Over

Back to back three pointers from Melvin Johnson at 5:12 and 4:46. VCU ran their lead to fourteen points to really bury Dukes who were pesky to that point

Play of the Game

This VCU fans tweet says it all.



Player of the Game

Not a clear winner here as everyone hurt the Dukes in the second. I’ll go with Treveon Graham who came alive after the break.

Credit Where It’s Due

VCU isn’t as good as they were last year, and they needed to win this game. A Duquesne loss may have pushed them off the NCAA bubble. I thought they did a nice job responding to the pressure situation they found themselves in at the half.

Parting Thoughts

The Dukes hung around for the first half but as they have several times this year, the wheels came off in the second. Again, I want to reiterate that I think the Rams nineteen point advantage in the second half came largely from their rebounding and shooting improvements. However the string of turnovers over a five minute stretch rattled the Dukes and they never fully recovered. Both teams finished tied at seventeen giveaways a piece. On the game, Duquesne actually turned it over less than the 20.5 per game average that VCU forces and became only the fifth team to commit seventeen or less against them.

Duquesne fans got teased at the half today but the end result could be better than many expected. For that reason and that reason alone, this game was somewhat disappointing. It doesn’t happen often that you give yourself a chance at the break to win at half on the road in a difficult building like the Siegel Center, and the Dukes did that today. They got manhandled in the second, but you’ll have that when you face a team with two experienced all – conference players on the floor.

Duquesne @ VCU Links

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