November 13, 2009
RODRIGUEZ LEADS FOUR IN DOUBLE FIGURES AS RAMS ROUT BETHUNE-COOKMAN, 77-51
Watch the Post Game Press Conference
RICHMOND, Va. – One down, 27 to go.
That’s after junior guard Joey Rodriguez (Oviedo, Fla.) led four players in double-figures as the Virginia Commonwealth University men’s basketball team routed Bethune-Cookman University, 77-51, in both team’s season openers.
“I’m pleased with our guys effort tonight,” Head Coach Shaka Smart said. “We played well in spots, but definitely had some lulls as well. It’s a solid first step in a long journey.”
Rodriguez finished with 17 points, along with four steals and two assists, while sophomore Jay Gavin (Seat Pleasant, Md.) (right) and junior Larry Sanders (Fort Pierce, Fla.) each tallied 12 points apiece. The game was Gavin’s first game in nearly two years after having to sit out last season due to NCAA transfer rules.
“It was great to see Jay get back out there and I know he was pretty excited as well,” Smart said. “Once he finally got that first one to drop, you could tell he was able to relax a little bit. The scoring wasn’t the only part he did well tonight either with four assists and no turnovers, as well as showing some solid defense at times tonight.”
Four VCU three-pointers over the course of the first seven minutes helped the Black & Gold jump out to a quick 17-7 advantage, before C.J. Reed and Alexander Starling combined for 10 straight Wildcat points to pull even at 17-17 with just under 10 minutes to play in the first half.
From then on, the Rams took over, forcing six turnovers in the final 10 minutes of the first half to ignite a 24-4 run to close out the first half and give VCU a 41-21 lead at the intermission.
After the break, it was much of the same with the Black & Gold grabbing its largest lead of the night with 3:52 remaining when sophomore Bradford Burgess (Midlothian, Va.) drilled a three-pointer to make the score, 74-42.
“Overall a solid effort, but there’s still a lot to work on before we can take the next step,” Smart commented.
Nine players scored at least three points for VCU and three corralled at least five rebounds, with Sanders leading the way in that category with six on the evening.
Reed led all scorers with 21 on 5-of-16 shooting, while Starling registered a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats.
The Rams return to action next Wednesday when they travel to Western Michigan for a 7 p.m. contest.