Rams win thriller in Rhodes

Akron shot blocking sensation Zeke Marshall made life miserable for VCU slashers all night, blocking six shots for the Zips. Unfortunately for the Keith Dambrot coached squad however, there was one shot that the Larry Sanders clone couldn’t get to, as Bradford Burgess dumped the ball off to Darius Theus for the game winning layup with just a second left on the clock.

The Rams (10-3) battled back from twelve down in the second half, getting two free throws from freshman Treveon Graham with 32 seconds left in regulation that would eventually send the game into OT where VCU would come away with the thrilling 76-75 road win.

One again, the Rams forced an opponent into 20 turnovers, and 20 they would need against high scoring Akron squad that hit 10-of-20 three pointers, 46.4% of their field goals in total.

Senior Bradford Burgess came up big for the Rams, hitting big shots late and scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half. Burgess grabbed seven rebounds on the night, all of which came in the second half as well.

Ohio native Rob Brandenberg saw limited minutes with an apparent leg injury, but managed to sting his home state team by hitting a huge three to cut the Zips lead to two with 4:31 to play, then hitting a big jumper to open overtime. Brandenberg scored seven of his 11 points with 11:30 left to go in regulation.

Freshman Briante Weber provided the defensive spark off the bench Ram fans have quickly grown to expect, grabbing a game-high five steals to go with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists on the game.

Darius Theus rounds out VCU’s list of double-digit scorers, posting 10 points including the game winner, as well as dishing a game-high five assists for the Rams.

The win is VCU’s seventh straight, and wrapped up December in undefeated fashion.

The black-and-gold will finish their three-game road trip at Hofstra (6-7) on January 2nd before coming home to the friendly confines of the Stuart C. Siegel Center to take on Georgia State (9-3) two days later on January 4th.

 

About Mat Shelton

VCU School of the Arts (BFA '07) and Center for Sport Leadership (M.Ed. '10) alumnus, Mat has followed VCU basketball since the Sunbelt days when he'd attend games with his father. Worked as a graduate assistant in the VCU Sports Information Department for the '09-'10 season, but has covered VCU basketball for VCURamNation.com since 2007. mshelton@vcuramnation.com @MatShelton