Brooklyn, NY - Game one of the quarterfinal evening doubleheader brought us crowd favorite VCU and upset winner UMass from the prior evening. Tonight, the Minutemen could not duplicate last night’s win over Rhode Island, as the defending champion Rams dispatched the Minutemen by an 85-70 count. VCU is now 23-9, while UMass closes the season 14-18.
First Half: Five possessions and three minutes in, VCU had a 3-2 lead. Both offenses are struggling early. It appears UMass coach Derek Kellogg does not want a ‘track meet’ pace. The Minutemen will pick their spots to run. Evident from the outset, UMass has to get on the boards and limit VCU’s transition baskets. Those fast breaks, usually resulting in a dunk, energize the Rams and can be demoralizing. At the under-8 media timeout, VCU has a seven-point lead. Under eight stats show both teams shooting 30 percent. The stat jumping off the sheet is VCU’s 10 offensive rebounds. With under four minutes to go in the half, the VCU lead is eight. UMass would be best served to keep the deficit in single figures by the break.
Halftime: VCU 39, UMass 30
Offensive efficiency: VCU 103, UMass 79
Second Half: UMass doubles the post. Inside players facing the double team, do a nice job looking forward, with cutters heading to the basket. The first five possessions of the final half see VCU score on four of their five possessions to ‘win’ the five by a 7-2 count. UMass had two missed shots and two turnovers before breaking the ice with a Donte Clark penetration. The Minutemen needed a good start, but didn’t get it, and now it’s an uphill battle. Compounding matters, VCU is getting out in transition. The fast break attack of VCU has the Ram faithful excited. Barclays Center sounds like a VCU home contest. The final ten minutes sees UMass’ offense picks up. There isn’t any dent in the lead, as VCU has it steady in the 16-20 point range. For UMass, Rashaan Holloway, a 6-11, 335-pound freshman center, gives Kellogg a good second half with his inside effectiveness.
Final: VCU 85, UMass 70
Possessions: UMass 75, VCU 74
Offensive efficiency: VCU 115, UMass 93
eFG%: UMass 47, VCU 41
Free Throw Rate: UMass 37, VCU 44
Offensive Rebound%: UMass 12, VCU 43
Turnover Rate: UMass 16, VCU 10
What UMass did well: Execute more efficient offense the second half. After failing to hit 80 in efficiency the first twenty minutes, the Minutemen scored 40 points in 37 trips for a neat 108 offensive efficiency.
What VCU did well: Attack the glass. They shot 1-of-16 from three while shooting 50 percent from inside the arc. The Rams also pounded the boards, with 20 off the offensive glass.
NOTES: VCU enjoyed a 50-38 edge on points in the paint. Tied into the outstanding offensive rebound percentage, the Rams led 34-16 in second chance points. VCU’s Justin Tillman led the way with nine rebounds. The aforementioned Holloway grabbed eight boards to compliment his 16 points in 28 minutes. In a fast-paced game, both teams showed excellent turnover rates.
“Good to get the first win. Extra possessions doing a good job on the offensive boards. The second half, we came out and attacked the rim. We want to win the first one, that’s important. There are two really good teams (St. Bonaventure and Davidson) playing out there. We have to prepare to face one of them tomorrow. We were ready for both teams. Having the bye gives you a little more time to prepare. We got ‘downhill’ and got to the rim. That’s what we need to do. We don’t play as much full court pressure as last year, but we do a lot of the same things, just in half court instead of full.” - VCU coach Will Wade
“Our last home game, I think we hit one three. We attack the paint very well. We didn’t play well against UMass last time. We came out and Melvin (Johnson) came out, and I think set the tone for us.” - Mo Alie-Cox