RICHMOND, Va. Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Senior Eric Maynor (Raeford, N.C.) and sophomore Brandon Rozzell (Richmond, Va.) combined for 43 points to lead Virginia Commonwealth University to 91-63 exhibition victory over Virginia Union in the S&K Menswear Downtown Showdown Friday at the Siegel Center.
Maynor, the 2008 Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Player of the Year, dropped in 25 points, handed out six assists and ripped five steals for the Rams. Rozzell, who was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time in a VCU uniform, provided 18 points. Sophomore Joey Rodriguez (Oviedo, Fla.) knocked down 4-of-8 3-pointers for 12 points and recorded seven assists.
Black & Gold starting forwards Larry Sanders (Fort Pierce, Fla.) and Kirill Pishchalnikov (Maykop, Russia) combined for 15 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks.
The Rams took a 38-32 lead in the locker room at halftime, but pulled away in the second period. VCU shot 57 percent (21-of-37) after the break and outrebounded the Panthers 29-12.
VUU’s Braxton Byerson canned a 3-pointer with 13:37 remaining in the game to pull the Panthers to within 52-44. From there, it was all VCU.
Led by their signature pressure defense, the Rams embarked on a 30-4 blitz to remove any doubt about the outcome.
Brandon Byerson led Union with 17 points and five assists, while brother Braxton added 16 points and eight rebounds.
VCU returns to action on Wednesday, Nov. 12 when it hosts Virginia State in exhibition play at the Alltel Pavilion at the Stuart C. Siegel Center at 7:30 p.m.