Virginia Commonwealth headed into the bees nest tonight also known as Washington, D.C. to take on Atlantic 10 Conference rival George Washington University. What's the buzz: tell me what's a happenin', what's the buzz?
The buzz is Atlantic 10 basketball and that exciting full-court pressure "D" the VCU Rams employ. This VCU team led the country in steals last year and they have the D1 steals leader this year: that's guard Briante Weber if you haven't heard. The rest of the team also shows up to make it a five-on-five game. They're pretty good players as well.
"Wait a minute" says George Washington who are also now in the A-10 we're good too: we're 13-3 like you and we beat Creighton. We're buzzing too buzz boys! On December 1, 2013 the Colonials played the Creighton Blue Jays on a neutral court in Fullerton, California and beat the high-flying birds and their dominating center Doug McDermott who they held to seven points. That's three touchdowns short of his daily output. So this team is good. They have Indiana University transfer Maurice Creek who brought a lot of confidence to the Colonials who maybe didn't have enough respect.
Virginia Commonwealth Rams @ George Washington Colonials: January 14, 2014...7 P.M.
The George Washington Colonials started the game with a starting five of Kevin Larsen, Maurice Creek, Isaiah Armwood, Kethan Savage and Joe McDonald. The VCU Rams opened the game with a five of Rob Brandenburg, Treveon Graham, Juvonte Reddic, Jordan Burgess and Briante Weber.
The game tonight was tight until late in the first half when GW caught VCU around the last television timeout and spurted to take a seven-point lead into the half. Sophmore GW forward Kevin Larsen was awesome scoring on 7-8 field goals and going 3-3 from the line to total 17 first half points. VCU's Rob Brandenburg scored 10 first half points.
As a team the Rams had an average field goal percentage in the first half but converted 6-12 three-pointers to keep pressure on the Colonials to spread out to cover those shots.
GW led big in rebounds outboarding VCU in the first half 22-12.
In the second half GW got a lot of points from Patricio Garino who often led the Colonials in game scoring last year from the bench. Tonight he put up double-figure scoring numbers for GW who attained a double-digit lead early on in the second half and held on to it.
At the last television timeout (3:35) of the second half GW was holding onto a diminishing lead as VCU cut the 10-point deficit down to five.
George Washington was relying heavily on just three players for the vast majority of their scoring punch. Patricio Garino, Isaiah Armwood and Kevin Larsen were getting easy looks on closer shots while the rest of the Colonials weren't doing much. VCU, contrarily, were doing their usual of spreading the ball around without any big-point scorers dominating their stats.
VCU launched threes as the time ticked down in the final few minutes but they couldn't dent the lead; GW continued to make their free throws in the second half and the Colonials emerged with a satisfying win over old Colonial Athletic Association rival and now fellow A-10 member, Virginia Commonwealth.
The final score was George Washington 76 VCU 66.
Final stats were conclusive: George Washington outplayed VCU tonight. VCU shot 25-58 from the field while hitting just 9-28 three-pointers. In the first half VCU was 6-12 from three-point land and just 3-16 in the second half.
GWU shot 56.3% for the game based on 27-48 shooting with their top three scorers shooting lights out tonight. Patricio Garino who comes off the bench for the Colonials scored 25 points (8-14 FGs, 2-3 3-pointers and 7-8 FTs) most of them in the second half. Starter Kevin Larsen scored 22 points (9-11 FGs and 4-5 FTs) with 17 coming in the first half. Isaiah Armwood scored 11 points (4-6 FGs and 3-4 FTs) and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.
The top three scorers for George Washington scored 58 points based on 21-31 field goal shooting and 14-17 free throws. George Washington crushed VCU in rebounding stats mostly because they were at the foul line so much there were no rebounding opportunities for VCU.
GWU's field goal percentage was outstanding tonight because they were, apparently, getting fouled or bailed out on a lot of shots by VCU that weren't likely to go anyway. GWU was 20-32 from the free throw line tonight. VCU was aggressively fouling tonight and it partially worked since the Colonials missed so many free throws.
GW out-rebounded VCU 45-29.
VCU had three players in double-figures. Rob Brandenburg (17 points), Treveon Graham (12 points) and Melvin Johnson (11 points) led the Rams in scoring.