Long Beach State vs VCU

No. 10 VCU fends off feisty Long Beach State in San Juan


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- A day after learning what it felt like to be humbled, No. 10 Virginia Commonwealth learned how to benefit from the experience.

After being virtually beaten at its own fast-paced style in a loss to Florida State, the 10th-ranked Rams found a way to win with their late-game toughness in a 73-67 victory over Long Beach State in the consolation bracket of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

Rob Brandenberg scored 19 points and helped ignite a rally that proved to be too much for a 49ers team that lost its fifth straight game.

The Rams (4-1) trailed by eight early in the second half before reeling off that 13-0 run to take back control.

"I was just trying to stay aggressive and just try and help my team any way I can," Brandenberg said of the spurt. "I realize that we had to play with some urgency at that time. It worked out."

The victory earned the Rams a matchup Sunday with Georgetown, the team it beat in the second round of the 2011 NCAA tournament to first land VCU's program on the national stage.

VCU had four players in double figures, including Juvonte Reddic with17 points and 10 rebounds, and Briante Webber with 15 points.

Rams coach Shaka Smart called it a "hard-fought win."

"I thought we responded well," Smart said. "Last night was a humbling game. And that's a good thing. Losing not a good thing, but it's good to be humbled because it reminds you that you have a long way to go and we have to get better. "

Long Beach State handled VCU's pressure well at times, committing only 10 turnovers. But it shot just 7 of 19 on 3-pointers. It was the first of VCU's five opponents this season that didn't have at least 20 giveaways.

Branford Jones led Long Beach State (1-5) with 19 points and Mike Caffey added 15.

But where VCU'S defensive pressure failed it in the first half, the Rams began to succeed in speeding up the 49ers in the final 20 minutes of the game. It didn't always produce turnovers, but it did force Long Beach State into quick shots.

A string of misses triggered the 13-0 spurt that put the Rams up 55-50 with under 12 minutes to play.

Long Beach State coach Dan Monson said it was a run they didn't have an answer for.

"I thought we controlled the tempo and were able to dictate the tempo for 35 minutes," Monson said. "That's all it took, just that two or three minutes against a team that dangerous, that explosive. Our margin for error was very small and we used it in that three-minute thing and we couldn't get a rebound or that next play to get us back in it."

Long Beach State got the lead back at 58-57 on a 3-pointer by A.J. Spencer, but another quick burst by the Rams put them back in front 68-60 with 2:45 remaining.

A 3-pointer from the wing by Jones and another 3 by Caffey with 16.5 seconds left cut it to 72-67.

Long Beach State was aggressive in the opening 20 minutes and led 36-35 at the break. Both teams were up and down the floor in a half that featured nine ties and eight lead changes.

The 49ers weren't intimidated by the Rams' pressure and turned it over only three times. VCU was shakier with the ball with six giveaways.

The Rams were just 14 for 31 from the field, but had five 3s to keep pace.

Smart said he likes the direction his team is trending in during its stay in San Juan.

"Our guys are only human and there's been a lot of things said about them the last couple of months. Then they get that little number next to their name," he said. "But there's a process that goes into winning and there's a process into getting better. And I think last night reminded us of that.

"The way we responded tonight was pretty good."

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
Long Beach State (1-5)363167
Virginia Commonwealth #10 (4-1) «353873
LNGBCH:B. Jones 19 Pts
LNGBCH:D. Samuels 9 Reb
LNGBCH:M. Caffey 4 Ast
VCU:R. Brandenberg 19 Pts
VCU:J. Reddic 10 Reb
VCU:B. Weber 4 Ast

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Long Beach StateVCU
Mike Caffey
Juvonte Reddic
Long Beach State 49ers
M. Caffey, G406-151-454215
A. Spencer, G385-103-441214
B. Jones, G378-110-000219
D. Jennings, F306-90-271412
D. Samuels, F293-90-09027
K. Gulley, G-F100-10-00010
C. Griggs-Williams, F100-00-03010
M. LaSalle, G60-10-00000
E. Garibay, FDid Not Play
N. Shepherd, FDid Not Play
T. Lamb, GDid Not Play
J. Watson, GDid Not Play
C. Lockett, FDid Not Play
A. Moye, GDid Not Play
D. Ross, GDid Not Play
Totals 28-564-102861567
VCU Rams
T. Graham, G345-130-080112
J. Reddic, F318-141-1102217
B. Weber, G306-73-464115
R. Brandenberg, G276-133-421219
T. Shannon, F120-21-22021
M. Johnson, G263-110-01217
M. Alie-Cox, F181-20-04122
J. Lewis, G110-00-00000
J. Guest, F100-00-02000
D. Brooks, G10-10-00000
J. Burgess, GDid Not Play
E. Burk, FDid Not Play
T. Burston, GDid Not Play
J. Lyles, GDid Not Play
A. Simmons, FDid Not Play
Totals 29-638-1135101073
Big West
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
UC Davis0-02-195
Cal Poly0-02-2290
UC Irvine0-02-3187
CSNorthridge 0-01-2337
UC Riverside0-01-2182

Atlantic 10
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
George Mason0-03-1115
Saint Louis0-03-188
Geo. Wash.0-02-1146
Rhode Island0-02-1213
Saint Josephs0-02-1112
La Salle0-03-2114
St. Bona.0-01-1341
Other games
MASS 81 Final
MICH 82 Final
FSU 80
IND 58 Final
TOWS 58 Final
KAN 88
VT 77 Final
MORE 70 Final