Treveon Graham didn’t have his best shooting night during VCU’s gutsy win over Saint Louis, but when the final buzzer sounded the senior had totaled 21 points that included the game-winner with 0.9 seconds to play. It was Graham’s second heroic performance in as many games as he had tallied 26 points on one leg as VCU rallied to beat Rhode Island in Graham’s previous contest.
But while the Freight Train will get the love, glory and Sports Center highlight (and he earned it), someone has to hand a game ball to Jordan Burgess for battling through adversity and hitting perhaps the real clutch shot of the evening.
Graham’s buzzer-beater was a ton of fun, don’t get me wrong, but the senior made that play with ultimately nothing to lose.
VCU had been gifted a missed free throw by SLU’s Ash Yacoubou, giving the black and gold seven seconds to either hit a shot or get fouled where the Rams would get two attempts to either win it or head to overtime with a renewed sense of purpose in an otherwise ugly game for the 16th ranked team in the country. The game was tied at that point, so avoid a turnover and you are at least guaranteed another five minutes of action.
Jordan Burgess did not have that luxury.
The sophomore from Midlothian had struggled on the evening, but with his team down two with roughly one possession left to either tie or take the lead, nailed a three with 19.6 to go to send VCU from impending doom to power position, taking the pressure off of VCU and planting it firmly on the shoulders of the Billikens.
The sophomore had missed all four of his previous attempts on the evening, including three from distance. Miss this last one and VCU is forced to foul down two and potentially has to watch SLU slowly seal a painful road loss (I say painful because Saint Louis is ranked 249th nationally according to kenpom’s computers, good for a 1-2 seed dip come NCAA tournament selection time).
But Burgess was golden.
Big Shot 2.0 delivered another Robin play to Treveon’s Batman that will ultimately get all the glory.
So here’s a Ram Nation game ball from me to you, Jordan Burgess. You took me from a sulking, disappointed Ram fan, to one standing on his chair in the corner of Baja Bean Company where just a game prior I had interviewed a proud brother of yours. You also saved my birthday weekend, for which my wife and family are eternally grateful.