Rams miss opportunity, fall by 2 at SLU

[caption id="attachment_12414" align="alignright" width="300"]<a href="http://www.vcuramnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/VCUSLU.png"><img class="size-medium wp-image-12414" alt="VCUSLU" src="http://www.vcuramnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/VCUSLU-300x198.png" width="300" height="198" /></a> A cold-shooting Rams teams came up just short in a bid to upset SLU in front of a record crowd at Chaifetz Arena.[/caption]

VCU came up just short in a bid to pull within a game's reach of Saint Louis in the Atlantic 10 race for first place but came up just short, falling 64-62 to the Billikens in front of a record crowd at Chaifetz Arena of 10,639.

The teams traded leads throughout the first half before SLU went into the lockers with a three-point advantage. After VCU pulled out ahead early in the second, the Rams went cold, allowing SLU an 18-3 run that put the Rams down 12. VCU did not quit however, battling back to tie the game at 53 with a Treveon Graham and-1 with 2:20 left to play.

SLU answered that run however with a 7-0 run of there own that ended with a Rob Loe three-pointer with 37 seconds left to play. VCU pulled within three with 10 seconds left on the clock, but Loe then made one of two free throws to essentially put the game out of reach at 64-60. Reddic finished the game with a layup but it was academic at that point and the Rams dropped their second consecutive road game.

Some combination of SLU's stout defense and VCU's inability to hit shots doomed the black and gold in the loss.

VCU hit just 38.5% of their shots and went and ice-cold 2-16 from long range (12.5%).

Treveon Graham led the Rams with 16 points but was just six of 19 from the floor including 0-5 from long range. The typically deadly Melvin Johnson struggled from distance as well, hitting just one of his four attempts from deep and finished 1-8 from the field.

Juvonte Reddic chipped in 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Junior guard, Briante Weber matched Reddic's rebound total and added 12 points, five assists and three steals in the loss. Both players finished with a block each as well.

Senior guard, Rob Brandenberg, struggled to shoot as well, going 2-7 from the field for seven points in his 32 minutes for the Rams. He did however match Weber's team-high three steals in the loss.

The loss drops VCU to 20-6 overall and 8-3 in conference play, currently good for sole possession of second place. It also gives SLU a three-game lead over VCU and the rest of the pack in the race for a regular season A-10 title.

The Rams are back on the road this week, traveling to Amherst to take on UMass (20-5, 7-4) Friday after the Minutemen just defeated George Washington (19-6, 7-4) in DC.

VCU then heads to NYC on February 27 to take on Fordham (9-15, 2-9) and will return home March 1 for a rematch with Saint Louis.
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Licensed Virginia Realtor and part-time basketball writer. Co-founder of VCURamNation.com and A10Talk.com.
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Mat Shelton-Eide
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