RICHMOND, Va. Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 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 RamsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ 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, RamsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Head Coach Anthony Grant was left looking for more from his team.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We played like an immature basketball team in spots tonight,Ã¢â‚¬Â Commented Grant. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I felt like we had opportunities throughout the game, to put the game away and we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do that. But I thinkÃ¢â‚¬Â¦right now itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to be a challenge for our whole teamÃ¢â‚¬Â¦to understand the opportunity thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in front of us. And if we want to start to become the basketball team we want to be, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to become more consistent in a lot of areas.Ã¢â‚¬Â
SandersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ 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 RamsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ 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.