VCU looked to mount a third BCS head on its wall after two nice wins over Wake Forest and UCLA, but ex Sunbelt and Metro conference rival South Florida (5-3) had other plans in mind and handed the Rams a tough 60-59 overtime loss.
The Bulls of the Big East streaked out to a 10-2 lead and eventually a game high 18 point advantage in the first half thanks to a slew of VCU bricks and defensive lapses. But the Rams battled back and eventually took a 1 point lead when Florida native Joey Rodriguez connected from long range with 46 seconds to play.
South Florida answered with and old fashioned 3-point play of it’s own, giving the Bulls a 2 point advantage just before another Floridian Ram, Ed Nixon, connected on a layup that would send the game into overtime.
There the Rams would be crippled by another slow start as USF started extra time with an 8-2 advantage before Jamie Skeen and Brandon Rozzell cut the lead to a single point, and put Bradford Burgess in a position to win it with seconds remaining.
Unfortunately for the Black-and-Gold Burgess’ drive couldn’t connect or draw the foul and the Rams needed to get out of Tampa with it’s fifth win of the season.
Jamie Skeen and Bradford Burgess carried the Rams through the night in VCU’s worst offensive output of this young season.
Skeen posted a game high 16 points, grabbed 6 boards, and blocked 2 shots in the losing effort.
Bradford Burgess notched his first double-double of the season, scoring 15 points to go with a game high 13 rebounds.
VCU’s Florida natives Ed Nixon and Joey Rodriguez may have enjoyed the hometown faces, but saw little success on the court combining for just 6 makes on 17 attempts for a 15 point joint effort.
The Rams usually reliable bench, which houses VCU’s leading scorer, Brandon Rozzell (16 pts/game), only added 13 points in the loss, 15 less than in VCU’s previous game, an 89-85 win over UCLA.
VCU moves to 4-2 on the season and gets a chance to take out their aggression on struggling William and Mary (3-4) this Saturday at noon at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.