Liveblog: VCU v. Nevada

Gavin steps to the line for two. He misses his first. Gotta start closing these games out stronger. Gavin makes his second. Nixon is pulled down while going for a defensive board, so he while walk patiently and calmly for two shots. he nails both. From there VCU runs the clock out. At the end, when teams display sportsmenship, Armon Johnson looks to get into joey face and they start jawing a little. TJ walks up and that seemed to kill it. Because let's be honest. TJ is a scary tough dude. So, game over. VCU wins a big one here at the STU against Nevada. The Rams improve to 4-1. VCU GO RAMS GO!!

Out of the timeout and Nevada is starting to play the fouling game. They get Nixon and he misses his first free throw. The good news is, TJ returns to the floor. Nixon hits his second. If Nevada is gonna foul, we gotta start cleaning up those free throws. Joey is called for a the foul while boxing out. He was not happy about that, and I don't blame him. That was a bit of bull-pucky. A lot of dribbling and time-consuming, and then Nixon hits the dagger from long range. 40 seconds, about, to plays VCU leads 82-74.

Larry gets one of two to fall. We just gotta take some time off the clock.. No need to rush. Although, if you leave Gavin that open he is sorta forced to get that layup from the baseline. Somehow, TJ is called for a foul, but now he is having a hard time getting up. He immediately grabbed his ankle, and limps off the court, but under his own power. Not two secodns off the clock and Gavin is called for a foul. The STU is in full-on "boo" mode now. Nevada makes one of two from the stripe. Timeout. 1:41 to play. VCU leads 78-71.

Joey hustles the baseline and gets a clean lay-in off the glass. That pushes the lead 72-62, but Babbitt hits a jumper and shrinks it back to an 8 point lead. Bradford gets fouled and makes his bucket. He likes his three points the old fashioned way. Bradford is having a great half, he has scored all 12 points after halftime. Timeout. 75-66 VCU. 2:56 to play. When we return Larry shoots two.

Slow play for a bit. Cukic reaches in on a pass in the paint around Larry and picks up his fifth foul. He sits the rest of the game. Both teams live in the double-bonus from here on out. Larry is at the line and hits one of two. That puts him at 16 points. The lead is slowly evaporating for the Rams, but Brandon does his best Maynor and floats one in for two points. Timeout. VCU leads 70-62 with 5:34 to play.

Larry is up and walking, but he leaves the court and heads for the lockerroom. But on his own two legs. Bradford hits his first three and stands there with his hands up, I think exhaling. That was his first three of the night, but pushes his to 9 points. Larry walks back on to the court. he has been consistently pounding gatorade. Nixon picks up his first foul, but it puts Nevada in the bonus. the crowd erupts into a big maddening cheer, and you think, why? Then you see big #1 walk back into the game. VCU is now in the bonus and KP will shoot an extra if he makes his first. he doesn't get the opportunity. VCU leads 65-53. 8:46 to play.

Theus deflects the ball off an inbounds to Nixon who drives the paint for a mean one handed jam. KP picks up a foul and is spelled by TJ. Hunt fouls TJ as he is shooting and picks up his third foul. Timeout. 60-43 VCU leads. 11:53 to play.

Lots of hustle from the Rams out of the timeout. Larry goes down holding his leg.. He can't walk off under his own power and Gavin and Hinton have to help him off the court. He is applying zero weight on his left leg. Hoping at this point that it's cramping. But it looked like he came down a little awkward. Let's hope the best for him. Back to the play on the court, Joey is fouled on a three point attempt. Getting word from the side that Larry just had a bad cramp. Looks like he is taking in plenty of fluids. Joey hits all three of his freebies. Theus checks in and immediately shovels the ball in to KP who gets the "and 1" opportunity. KP misses. Timeout VCU. 56-38 VCU leads. 12:46 to play.

The band breaks into the "VCU" chant and the dance team comes out. They are highly distracting to the liveblog. Nixon helps Larry on defense and records a great block. TJ scores two after some athletic maneuvering in the paint. Timeout.

Joey starts the second half. Looks like the medics got the issue resolved. Nevada comes out and gets first blood for the second half. Let's see what kind of adjustments coach made. Gavin gets the first bucket for the Rams. Shaw picks up his third foul and has to sit for Nevada. Bradford is fouled during his shot, and will take the line. he makes his first shot and will notch his first point two points of the game from the free throw line. Gavin and Joey team up on defense and Gavin pulls away the steal. 17:41 to play. VCU leads 39-30. Make that 41-30 has Bradford readjusts under the basket and gets his first field goal of the game. Back on the defensive end, larry picks up his first foul, but pulls down his 10th board off a missed free throw. Bradford misses a inside shot, but Larry gets the follow back dunk. next time down the court, Larry returns the favor to Burgess, and gives the beautiful assist for Bradford dunk! Timeout by Nevada. VCU leads 45-30 with 16:21 to play.

God Bless the dance team.

Rozzell misses a shot but a quick TO by Nevada puts us right back under their basket. Larry gets fouled as he goes up for his shot. He hits his first. the second does not follow suit. Nevada will get the last shot into half time. In fact, they will get the last three shots, none of them fall though, and VCU trots into the locker room holding a 7 point margin. 35-28. Halftime.

KP hits his two free throws. Holding a slim margin of lead. Nixon grabs a defensive board and takes off, and I mean he takes off, down the court and gets the lay in. Under one minute to play and Nevada turns the ball over on the player control foul. Timeout. VCU leads 34-28. 46.1 until bathroom break.

Theus comes in and gets a three point play. A minute back Joey looked to take a elbow to the face. He gets called for his second foul and is still holding his nose and grimacing. TJ will spell him while the trainers check him out. Just noticed, Burgess has zero points. That is uncommon. Nevada hits a field goal and it's a three point game. Not cool. Timeout. 29-26 VCU. 2:37 to play.

back from the timeout and it appears our offense may have stalled a little. Sanders already has 7 boards, 3 blocks, and 8 points in 9 minutes. it's so quite in here you can actually hear our cheerleaders . Nixon makes an athletic drive to the basket and gets the shot to fall. Rozzell then adds another 3-ptr to his night. TJ drives to the basket and makes his patented head fake, ha, I love it. He gets points 5 and 6 off it though. Gavin checks back in and looks to end his rough streak, starting back in the Hampton game. He is listed currently at having 2 points and 3 boards. Nevada has made a little run off a lull in VCU's offense. 26-21 VCU leads. 4:40 to play til half.

Joey is back in at point, he is taking his time setting up the offense, and we work the ball into Larry who is fouled. He drops both his free shots. Larry is altering a lot of shots, the type of plays that aren't gonna show up on the box score. back on offense, Larry grabs the board off a TJ miss and gets his points. This is Larry's ball game if he wants it. If he plays smart there isn't a man on the court who can contest him. Larry goes back to the charity stripe off an athletic boar offensive board. He misses both free throws. Nevada is now only shooting slightly above 15%. 8:05 to play in the first. 20-13 VCU.

Nevada drops into a 3-2 zone and Nixon still manages to find the three. Rozzell hustles back on defense and grabs a steal. VCU pushes the ball back up the court and Rozzell nails a three to accompany Nixon. Nevada is forced to take a quick timeout. Right now Nevada is shooting 14%. VCU and Nevada just traded traveling violations. Theus and bradford check in. II think if we can maintain our press effectively, Nevada has no shot to keep up with us. they look like they could tire easily. KP picks up his second foul, on a player control call, and Larry checks back into the game. Immediately he gets a block. On the very next Nevada possession, larry puts down his second block. he is playing smart on defense. I just want him to stop hovering around the three point line on offense. We have all five guys in around the three point line, sometimes with Bradford moving into the paint to mix things up. Timeout on the floor. 16-7 VCU leads. 11:49 to play in the first.

VCU lost its first tip of the year. But Nevada can't produce. Looking for a big game from Sanders, of course, but our press has to be spot on tonight. Gavin gets the first points of the game. Sanders gets his first defensive board and tries a three on the other end. A lot of running back and forth before Nevada hits a three. VCU is feeding the ball into the post and we are looking great. If Larry wants he can back his man down and spin outside on him all night. VCU scores back to back buckets from Sanders and TJ. Joey gets a big assist to Sanders for his first dunk of the night. Timeout on the floor for the "under 16" and VCU leads 8-5 with 15:22 left in the first.

1 minute to tip-off. Not a lot of students here at all. I wonder if we will cap 4,500 on total attendance tonight. Oh well, still gotta bring that "A" game.

<img src="" alt="001" title="001" class="alignright size-full wp-image-2617" />Just a few hours until VCU attempts to avenge their 1 point Bracketbuster loss in Reno many months ago. Ram Nation will be there live blogging (and "tweeting"...don't forget to follow us on Twitter!) our giant hearts AND fingers out.

Nevada (2-1) rolls into Richmond in search of their first road victory, coming off a 13 point home win against Houston (who coincidentally handed Oklahoma their 3rd loss of the season last night). The Wolf Pack are an early road dog, getting 8 points from Vegas.

Nevada boasts a high powered offense centered around former McDonald's All-American Luke Babbitt, averaging 18 points and 10.7 rebounds three games into the season. The Wolf Pack have five players averaging double digit scoring, three of which are putting up 18+ points a game.

Four of those players however average 30+ minutes a night (Babbitt 36.7, leading scorer Brandon Fields 31, Armon Johnson 36, and Joey Shaw 32)...there are only 40 minutes in a game. It will be interesting to see if the Wolf Pack players can play at that marathon pace under such a stressful VCU attack that has sent three players in the last two games (one of which was Sporting News Preseason Player of the Year, Willie Warren) to the bench with cramps.

The Rams will need a big game out of F/C Larry Sanders if they hope to stop Babbitt and the Wolf Pack's high powered offense. The CAA player of the year is averaging just about as many fouls (4) as rebounds (4.8) early into the season, and will need to stay on the floor longer than his current 22.5 minutes/night for the black and gold to pull off a valuable OOC win.

Here's the tale of the tape...

Scoring offense
<strong>Nevada 87.3</strong>
VCU 72.3

Points allowed
<strong>VCU 63.8</strong>
Nevada 82.7

<strong>Nevada 42.3</strong>
VCU 38.8

<strong>VCU 13.5</strong>
Nevada 17.3

Field Goal %
<strong>Nevada 51%</strong>
VCU 39%

3 Pt Shooting
<strong>Nevada 46%</strong>
VCU 32%

<strong>VCU 8.5</strong>
Nevada 4

<strong>Nevada 16</strong>
VCU 20.3

Looks like your classic offense v. defense/unstoppable force v. immovable object to me... somethings gotta give. It'll be interesting to see how this one unfolds...

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Matt has been reporting on VCU sports for Ram Nation since 2007 with a focus on news, photos, and feature stories.
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Matt Morton
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