Malik Bowden’s Men’s Basketball Blog
Last Friday’s game against St. Louis resulted in a clutch win for the Rams, and another memorable moment added to Treveon Graham’s legacy. In the only game of the week for the Rams they traveled to the mid-west to take on the St. Louis Billikens. In the past few years these two teams have developed a rivalry. Last year the Rams split the season series winning at home by 11 in a game where students camped out for the best seats. In the other tilt last season the Rams fell short by two points after making a late game comeback where they once trailed by 11 points.
Last Fridays game was nothing short of stellar. The Rams and Billikens traded blows with each other, no team could pull away. VCU once lead by eight with 9:23 left in the first half, but Saint Louis answered outscoring the rams 20-10 in the last9:05 of the half. At the break the teams were locked in a 34-34 tie. Even with the Rams more experienced lineup Saint Louis was able to rally around their young team primarily made of sophomores, and freshmen to stay competitive in this game.
The second half was much of the same story. As much pressure as the Rams gave their opponent they could only build a six point lead at best. A bright spot throughout the game was VCU’s improved patience, and execution in the half court. Although they didn’t capitalize on all their open looks by only shooting 36.7 % the first step in having a good half-court offense is to get good looks. As the game came down to the finals seconds VCU found themselves in a national upset alert, down two points with 42 seconds left after a Saint Louis jumper.
With the game hanging in the balance the Rams calmly answered with Briante getting in the lane and finding Jordan Burgess in the opposite corner for a cold blooded three ball that happened to be his only points of the night, putting VCU up 61-60 with 19 seconds left. Saint Louis then was able to tie the game on a questionable lose ball foul called on Jordan, and tied the game up on a made free throw. VCU called their last timeout with seven seconds on the clock. As the team came back on the floor the final point would be decided by the two players on the floor with the most experience. Luckily both of those players happened to be wearing black, and gold. The ball was initially passed to Briante then pitched cross court to Treveon, and the freight train earned his nickname by driving the length of the floor finishing at the rim through contact given by the Billikens, and putting the Rams up by two with a second left. Saint Louis called a timeout to set up a long Hail Mary play that turned out to be unsuccessful, and the Rams escaped still unbeaten in conference play. VCU extend their winning streak to 11 games now. Treveon led the team in scoring with 21 points, and six rebounds. Briante also stepped up adding 15 points to the Rams effort.
VCU will finally return home after a three game road trip to take on the second best team in the A-10, George Washington this coming Tuesday, and Saturday the Rams will play cross town rival Richmond on Saturday. With two wins this week, and possible upsets across the nation the Rams could find themselves inching closer, and closer back to that top ten rankings in the AP Poll.