Sanders 21 Points, 19 Rebounds Wreck Pirates, 59-54

RICHMOND, Va. – Sophomore Larry Sanders (Fort Pierce, Fla.) supplied career-high totals of 21 points and 19 rebounds and scored two clutch buckets for Virginia Commonwealth University in a 59-54 victory over Hampton Saturday at the Siegel Center.

VCU has won five of six to improve to 8-4 on the year. Hampton is 5-6.

After the Pirates pulled to within one point, at 49-48, Sanders slammed home an Eric Maynor (Raeford, N.C.) miss with 2:34 remaining. On the Rams’ ensuing possession, Sanders collected another errant VCU shot and laid the ball in for a 53-48 lead with 1:42 showing. Hampton would not seriously threaten again.

Sanders, using a variety of putbacks, dunks and layups, connected on 8-of-11 field goals for VCU, offsetting an otherwise dreadful shooting performance for the Rams. VCU scored on 37 percent (19-of-51) of its field goals Saturday.

Despite the victory, Rams’ Head Coach Anthony Grant was left looking for more from his team.

“We played like an immature basketball team in spots tonight,” Commented Grant. “I felt like we had opportunities throughout the game, to put the game away and we didn’t do that. But I think…right now it’s going to be a challenge for our whole team…to understand the opportunity that’s in front of us. And if we want to start to become the basketball team we want to be, we’ve got to become more consistent in a lot of areas.”

Sanders’ 19 rebounds were the most by a Ram since Troy Godwin hauled in 20 boards at Western Kentucky Nov. 26, 2002. He also blocked four shots.

Behind Sanders, the Black and Gold owned a 42-33 advantage on the glass, and outscored Hampton in the paint, 24-14.

Maynor added 20 points for VCU, the 27th 20-point game of his career. In addition, he moved past Tyron McCoy and into 11th place on the Rams’ career scoring list in the game.

Christopher Tolson led the Pirates with 18 points, while Vincent Simpson checked in with 16 points.

VCU returns to the floor on Saturday, Jan. 3 when it faces Delaware at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Del. at 4:30 p.m.

Matt has been reporting on VCU sports for Ram Nation since 2007 with a focus on news, photos, and feature stories.