January 27, 2010
RAMS REWRITE THE RECORD BOOKS IN 112-53 ROUT OF TOWSON
RICHMOND, Va. – In the mid-90s, there was a popular video game, NBA Jam, in which a player would “catch fire” after making several shots in a row. If that were to happen the announcer would say “He’s on fire” and the ball would literally be on fire every time the aforementioned player would handle the ball.
It’s probably a good thing that it was only a video game because if that was reality, there would have been a lot of fire alarms going off on Wednesday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.
The Virginia Commonwealth University men’s basketball team knocked down bucket after bucket and rewrote the record books in a 112-53 dismantling of the Towson University Tigers (4-16, 1-9 CAA).
“That was a fun game, wasn’t it?” Head Coach Shaka Smart said. “After our loss to Northeastern last week, we really wanted to refocus on the defensive end and when our guys do that it feeds into our offensive rhythm. Obviously, we were able to do that tonight.”
It was the most points ever scored in the 10-year old arena, the most points scored by the Rams (14-5, 6-4 CAA) since 1978-79, the most three-pointers in a single game for VCU and tied a single-game CAA record (20) and fourth-most assists in a game (30).
Sophomore Bradford Burgess (Midlothian, Va.) led all scorers with 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting in just 22 minutes of action. Junior Larry Sanders (Fort Pierce, Fla.) tallied his sixth double-double of the season with 17 points and 14 rebounds in 19 minutes and classmate Joey Rodriguez (Oviedo, Fla.) came up just three assists shy of a single-game record with 13, a career-high for the third-year standout.
“We’re sick of losing,” Sanders commented. “This is a team that is used to fighting for a conference title and that’s what we want to do again this year. We still have eight conference games left and we’re going to do all we can to be at the top after that.”
The first four minutes of the game proved to be an omen for the rest of the evening as the Black & Gold connected on its first seven field goals and raced out to a 21-9 lead with 15:53 showing on the first-half clock.
Rodriguez continually found the open man in the first half with 10 first-half assists. Many times, Sanders was on the receiving end, finishing 6-of-7 from the field, 15 points and 11 rebounds in just the first half.
After scoring the second most points ever in a first-half at the Siegel Center (55), the Rams did it two better in the second half. 13 of the 20 field goals made by the Black & Gold in the second half were from beyond the arc, including a perfect 4-of-4 from sophomore Jay Gavin (Seat Pleasant, Md.).
Just as impressive was the VCU defense, who stifled the Tigers to just 8-of-27 shooting in the second half and just 21 points as the Black & Gold locked down for the 112-53 victory.
“It’s really a choice for our guys,” Smart said. “After a game like this, we try to explain to them, why we got these results and show them how we good we can be. It’s a matter of staying focused and executing the gameplan.”
Gavin finished with 14 points, while senior T.J. Gwynn (Burlington, N.C.) added 11 points off the bench. Junior Brandon Rozzell (Richmond, Va.) continued his hot-shooting at home, with 4-of-5 from beyond the arc for 16 points. Rozzell is now shooting 57.8% from three-point range at the Verizon Wireless Arena this season.
Josh Thornton and Jarrel Smith led Towson with 12 points, while Isaiah Philmore added 11 points and five rebounds for the Tigers.
The Rams will look to carry their momentum into an 8 p.m. showdown with Panthers of Georgia State on Saturday evening. VCU will be celebrating its homecoming during the televised contest.