Perhaps there was a tad too much bling on the newly upgraded Verizon Wireless Arena, causing last year’s Final 4 darling VCU Rams to match missed buckets with a team named the Vulcans.
But after a half of the jitters, the Rams handed Cal U Penn a second stanza beatdown that might make even Leonard Nimoy cry.
Shaka Smart’s young team more than doubled their 21-point first half output, by posting 50 second half points en route to a 71-48 exhibition victory.
A reported 6675 fans were on hand to watch the newest version of Smart’s Havoc-wreakers. Darius Theus, filling in for recently graduated point guard Joey Rodriguez, didn’t fill the stat sheet with buckets, but lead the defensive attack with a game high six steals to go along with five assists on the night.
The Rams struggled to get out of the gate offensively but wound up seeing five players with double-digit scoring totals.
Freshman Treveon Graham attacked offensively throughout the night and lead all players with 16 points in just 21 minutes of play. The freshman from the DC area might have clipped the 20 mark had he night struggled at the charity stripe, hitting 7-of-13 free throws on the night. Graham added four rebounds and a steal in the effort.
Starters Bradford Burgess (12), Rob Brandenberg (10), Troy Daniels (11), and Juvonte Reddic (13) provided the remaining offensive spark for the Rams.
Reddic was only able to connect on 3-of-10 shots, but hit seven free throws on the night.
The sophomore, who has been handed down post scoring duties from 2012 NCAA All-Tournament teamer Jamie Skeen, notched the games only double-double as well, grabbing a game high 11 rebounds for the Rams.
An eager group of Ram fans provided a conference play-like atmosphere, even as the shots didn’t fall. Assuming VCU can find a rotation and play with the carefree attitude that seemed to propel them through last season’s NCAA tournament, the black-and-gold could be in for an exciting year in Richmond.