Saint Louis vs VCU

VCU earns impressive win over No. 10 Saint Louis


RICHMOND, Va. -- While a trip to the NCAA tournament has become an expectation for Virginia Commonwealth lately, some analysts thought the Rams still had work to do to solidify their position in the field of 68. They should be able to breathe a little easier now.

Treveon Graham had 17 points and eight rebounds, and VCU added a quality win to its postseason resume by beating No. 10 Saint Louis 67-56 on Saturday night.

''It's a big, big win,'' Rams coach Shaka Smart said. ''They're a top-10 team. It's a huge win, but it's not the only game we're going to hang our hat on. That's something for the tournament selection committee to look at.''

Briante Weber added 13 points and four steals for the Rams, who handed Saint Louis its second consecutive defeat following a school-record, 19-game winning streak. The Billikens were upset at home Thursday night by Duquesne, a 14-point underdog.

With another chance to clinch at least a tie for the Atlantic 10 regular-season championship, Saint Louis came up empty again. The Billikens lead St. Joseph's by one game with two to play.

VCU has a road win over ACC champion Virginia, but a 1-3 record entering Saturday against Saint Louis and fellow NCAA tournament hopefuls Massachusetts and George Washington out of the Atlantic 10 had the Rams eager to shore up their postseason resume against the Billikens.

''For us, it's a good win. We feel good about the progress we've made, but we've still got to get better,'' Smart said.

The Rams (22-7, 10-4 Atlantic 10) never trailed but made just two of their first 13 shots in the second half. The Billikens (25-4, 12-2) weren't much better, shooting 4 of 14 during the same 10-minute stretch.

''I don't think you'd want to take this game and turn it into any kind of offensive clinic and sell it on the Internet,'' Smart said. ''Offensively, it was a very similar game to [their meeting in St. Louis]. The difference was that we were much better defensively and on the offensive glass.''

Jordair Jett and Rob Loe helped Saint Louis stay within striking distance, but Juvonte Reddic made two free throws and hit Rob Brandenburg with a fast-break lob to hold the Billikens at bay.

VCU's lead did not dip below eight points the rest of the way, and Reddic provided the exclamation point with a dunk with 1:10 remaining.

Jett led Saint Louis with 18 points. Austin McBroom had 11 points off the bench and Loe grabbed nine rebounds but turned the ball over six times.

Leading scorer Dwayne Evans had just four points on 2-of-11 shooting after scoring 21 when the Billikens beat VCU 64-62 on Feb. 15 in St. Louis.

Reddic had 10 points for VCU, and Alie-Cox blocked five shots.

The Rams took control in the first half with their ''Havoc'' press and ended a three-game losing streak in the series. Jarred Guest scored five points in an 11-3 spurt, putting back his own miss to start a three-point play.

Guest then rebounded a missed 3-pointer and drew a goaltending call from Loe while being fouled. Guest couldn't complete the three-point play, but Graham was there to put back the miss.

''In the first half, their offensive rebounding was the biggest difference, and we turned it over a little too much,'' Saint Louis coach Jim Crews said. ''It was tough to get traction. They had a little bit more than us, but I don't think there was any real traction in that game.''

Saint Louis shot 50 percent in the first half, but attempted only 22 field goals to VCU's 36. Nine turnovers contributed to that disparity as Graham made three steals before the break.

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Briante Weber (13 points) and the Rams hand the Billikens their second straight loss. (USATSI)
Briante Weber (13 points) and the Rams hand the Billikens their second straight loss. (USATSI)
Saint Louis #10 (25-4)282856
Virginia Commonwealth (22-7) «382967
STLOU:J. Jett 18 Pts
STLOU:R. Loe 9 Reb
STLOU:M. McCall Jr. 3 Ast
VCU:T. Graham 17 Pts
VCU:T. Graham 8 Reb
VCU:R. Brandenberg 3 Ast

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Saint LouisVCU
Jordair Jett
Treveon Graham
Saint Louis Billikens
J. Jett, G368-142-351318
D. Evans, F312-110-05114
R. Loe, F292-52-29236
M. McCall Jr., G272-52-24318
J. Barnett, F262-40-03055
A. McBroom, G253-64-422211
J. Manning, C110-00-00010
M. Crawford, G-F60-10-00020
G. Glaze, F42-30-01004
T. Lancona, F30-00-00000
A. Eagleton, G10-00-00000
J. LePak, GDid Not Play
R. Agbeko, FDid Not Play
A. Yacoubou, GDid Not Play
Totals 21-4910-112991856
VCU Rams
T. Graham, G326-163-482317
J. Reddic, F293-94-451210
B. Weber, G295-83-451113
M. Johnson, G283-93-42029
R. Brandenberg, G272-60-02334
M. Alie-Cox, F172-22-23016
J. Burgess, G170-20-01110
J. Lewis, G121-30-03013
J. Guest, F82-61-24025
D. Brooks, G10-10-00000
T. Shannon, FDid Not Play
E. Burk, FDid Not Play
T. Burston, GDid Not Play
J. Lyles, GDid Not Play
A. Simmons, FDid Not Play
Totals 24-6216-203381667
Atlantic 10
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Saint Louis0-03-142
Rhode Island0-02-117
Saint Josephs0-02-155
St. Bona.0-02-1327
George Mason0-03-3199
La Salle0-03-3123
Geo. Wash.0-02-2233
Other games
CINCY 45 Final
MOST 45 Final
LOU 66 Final
UNC 60 Final
VT 56
ILL 53 Final
LSU 61 Final
FLA 79
TEXAS 65 Final
UCF 55 Final
SMU 70
SYR 56 Final
UVA 75
CREI 69 Final
XAV 75
MINN 56 Final
UK 67 Final
SC 72
IAST 73 Final
KSU 80
KAN 65 Final
SDSU 82 Final