It was a night many decades in the making, and former greats Calvin Duncan and Eric Maynor got a chance to see a banner hang just yards from their retired jerseys, this one representing not an individual player but the program’s greatest ever accomplishment: VCU’s first ever Final 4 appearance.
Opening night, banner night, call it what you will — Ram fans celebrated last season’s historic run while ushering in a new version of Shaka Smart’s Havoc attack, and were formally introduced to a largely inexperienced VCU squad who’s been handed down the team from last year’s newly bannered legends.
The Veterans Day matchup was anything but, seeing a surprisingly cold night from VCU’s only senior and a breakout performance from a talented young big man.
Bradford Burgess had perhaps the worst night of his celebrated career, missing all 12 of his attempts, much to the delight of a St. Francis (PA) squad that was able to pull within three points in the final minute.
Junior Troy Daniels delivered an opening night 3-point dagger however, giving the Rams a 6 point lead off his fifth tre of the evening, putting the game on ice and capping off a team leading 22 points in the win. Daniels went 5-of-15 on the night, all of his attempts coming from long range.
If Daniels is responsible for the game winner, sophomore C/F Juvonte Reddic could be credited with putting the black-and-gold on his back for much of the night. The 6’9 Reddic dominated the glass, leading all players with 10 rebounds to complete VCU’s first double-double of the season. Reddic grabbed eight offensive boards, and had numerous put-backs as a part of his 19-point output.
The packed house of 7,617 was VCU’s 5th consecutive regular season sellout dating back to last season.
The Rams will take their 1-0 record on the road for five games over a 16 day span, first heading to Charleston, South Carolina for this year’s Charleston Classic, then making stops at Western Kentucky and Alabama before finally returning home to the Stu on November 30th for a rematch of last year’s letdown game against South Florida.