VCU 80, Dayton 66. Or, Many Will See And Hear…
The final score does not even begin to tell you the flogging VCU gave Dayton. There were 12,500 Flyers fans walking slowly into the Dayton Arena for the tipoff, and they had no idea they were a funeral procession.
VCU absolutely punked the Flyers last night, showing how well this VCU team can play when energy meets execution. Assistant coach Mike Morrell provided a phenomenal scouting report of Dayton, and the team executed it with flair.
Quite frankly, over 40 minutes VCU demoralized Dayton. How else can you explain Dayton's Scoochie Smith missing a jumper, and nine seconds later Rob Brandenberg slashing to the hole for a layup. Flyers head coach Archie Miller called time out, and the fans filed for exits so quickly you would think they were giving out free pizza in the parking lot.
There was still 5:55 to play.
The game itself can be summed up in two near-mirror-image sequences, one in each half and again a testament to the Rule of Forty.
At the 12:08 mark of the first half VCU trailed 14-13. Over the next three and one-half minutes, the Rams forced six turnovers in seven Dayton possessions. The 9-2 run provided VCU a working margin. They tacked on a 7-2 run, 16-4 overall, to give them a 30-18 bulge at the 5:28 mark.
At the 12:07 mark of the second half VCU led 50-43. Over the next three and one-half minutes, the Rams forced three turnovers and a missed shot. The 10-2 run gave VCU a comfortable 60-45 lead. They tacked on a 9-4 run, 19-6 overall, to put the game out of reach at 69-49 at the 5:55 mark.
Enter Brandenberg, exit fans. You have to admit the precision of these runs is a tad spooky.
Some random items, and we will get deeper into the big picture tomorrow:
Briante Weber had a ridiculous stat line: 18 points, five assists, and zero turnovers along with a hilariously miscounted three steals. That doesn't even begin to reach his impact on the game. He made correct decisions all night long and forced the Dayton guards to attack by dribbling backwards.
The Rams fed the post their first three possessions of the second half and Juvonte Reddic made it happen. Reddic scored 16 of his 18 points in a second half in which he was the best player on the floor. As I am wont to type: Feed. The. Big. Guy.
After four straight games of a rising turnover number, VCU committed just seven last night.
Melvin Johnson hit two big first half threes in the midst of that 16-4 VCU run, and JeQuan Lewis matched him in the second half. We will call them "spot contributions," and they are important.
Don't underestimate the work of Jarred Guest, who has become almost the forgotten man this year. Guest entered the game at a tenuous spot. Reddic was on the bench with three fouls and Mo Alie Cox had just picked up his fourth foul. Terrance Shannon was in his sweats with a knee injury.
Dayton's last gasp was at hand. Guest came in and played the five spot, not exactly his forte. Guest immediately grabbed a rebound, set two hard screens to free shooters, and tipped an offensive rebound to Johnson. Great work from Guest.
Additional data that displays VCU ripping the guts from Dayton: Both teams had 11 fast break points in the first half. VCU had nine and Dayton zero in the second half. Dayton had 18 of its 27 first half points in the paint, but only 12 of its 39 second half points there. (VCU scored 20 points in the paint in the second half.)
That's playing with aggression and demoralizing your opponent. That's 40 minutes of ACL. That's winning on the road in the Atlantic 10.