Malik Bowden’s Men’s Basketball Blog
In the past week, Ram Nation saw their team go 1-1 with a nail biting win over Illinois State, and another loss to a ranked opponent in the Virginia Cavaliers.
In the first game of the week, the Rams went on the road in the second year of their home-and-home series with the Illinois State Red Birds of the Missouri Valley Conference. Initially the game appeared to be a game where the Rams were flat, like the ODU game. The Rams found themselves facing a 16 point deficit early in the game. The slow start could be attributed to Shaka not starting senior guard Briante Weber for reasons undisclosed reasons. At halftime the Rams cut Illinois State’s lead to two points, and would continue to enforce their style of play throughout the second half. When Melvin Johnson began to cool down in the second half, senior wing Treveon Graham picked up the scoring with some crucial buckets when attacking the Red Birds 2-3 zone. The Rams forced over 20 turnovers, and made it difficult at times for Illinois State to even bring the ball up before being called for a 10-second violation. VCU was able to use their mixture of experience and talent to overwhelm Illinois State, and come out with the victory 66-62. Melvin finished with 19 points, Treveon finished with 17 points, and Jordan Burgess finished with 10 points. After this game, myself and Ram Nation felt confident in VCU going into Saturday’s game against UVA which would have a lot riding on this game based off of last year’s thriller.
Prior to tip off, Saturday’s game had all the hype that was expected. SHAKAVILLE was present outside the stadium as fans waited for the opportunity to get the best seats for a game that had ticket sold out weeks before the season had even begun. When you walked into the arena white shirts were placed on every seat as the fans successfully pulled off a white out in the Siegel Center. As the game started, VCU scored on their first few possessions with UVA matching them with their future NBA wing player, Justin Anderson. UVA then went on to take a 10-point halftime lead. The second half started off the same way with the Cavaliers keeping a minimum eight point lead on the Rams. The Rams were down 13, Treveon Graham scored nine straight points on three consecutive three-pointers, which cut the UVA lead to nine. UVA called a time out to stop the bleeding as it appeared the Rams had momentum, and the Stu was filled with the chant of the VCU War Song. After the timeout, UVA answered VCU’s run with their own 15-0 run which put the game out of reach, and lead to UVA closing out the game 74-57. It was a well-played game by both teams. Hopefully, the Rams don’t dread on this loss as they face the 23rd ranked University of Northern Iowa this Saturday in Richmond.