Early run undone by ’Cats
VCU’s offense goes cold as Davidson finds its stroke late
DAVIDSON, N.C. — On Saturday at Davidson, VCU coach Mike Rhoades thought his team battled, played hard and honored the scouting report.
But putting it all together and finishing was where the team lapsed.
The Rams played quality defense and led by a high of 12 points midway through the second half, after a dominant start to the half. Davidson hung around, though, and made some big shots late. The Wildcats jumped ahead with 1:39 to play and held on for a 64-57 victory at Belk Arena.
Davidson has now won 19 of its last 20 at home.
“You knew they were
going to make a run, they have too many good players,” Rhoades said. “And the way they play, especially at home.
“But I told [the players], ‘This has got to fuel you to get better. This has got to fuel you. And, you take the ownership and the responsibility of, this can’t happen again, let’s get better from it.’” “
With the loss, VCU fell to 11-5 overall, and 2-1 in the Atlantic 10. Davidson is now 12-4, and 3-0 in the A-10.
The Wildcats shot 34.5 percent in the second half, and finished at 38.2 percent overall.
But they’re one of the most dangerous 3-point shooting teams in the Atlantic 10. And they hit three of their seven total 3-pointers in the final 3:52 to help them claw back, tie the game and extend their lead late.
Kellan Grady, who finished with a game-high 21 points, had one with 3:52 to go to pull Davidson to within 4 points, 55-51. KiShawn Pritchett had one that tied the game at 55 with 2:29 to go. Then Luke Frampton’s 3 with 1:09 remaining pushed the Wildcats’ advantage to 60-55.
“Down the stretch, they just made more shots than us,” VCU guard De’RIante Jenkins said. “That’s what won the game.”
Davidson led 28-25 at halftime after a 5-point spurt to finish the first half, that included a 3 by Pritchett. But VCU shut down the Wildcats out of the break.
They were held scoreless for a 6 ½-minute segment early in the second half, as VCU went on a 16-0 run to take a 41-31 lead with 13:07 to play.
The run included a pair of 3-pointers by Jenkins.
“We just came out knowing the shots were going to fall,” VCU guard Marcus Evans said. “And, came out the second half, it did. And it just added on.”
Davidson remained within striking distance, however. Back-to-back baskets by Luka Brajkovic cut the VCU lead to 51-46 with 6:01 to play. Another basket by Brajkovic gave the Wildcats their first lead since early in the second half, 57-55, with 1:39 remaining. They never gave it back up.
In the final 7:34, VCU went 0 of 10 from the field. The team finished 4 of 24 from deep.
“We had some good shots and good actions,” Rhoades said. “We didn’t make enough open 3s today. We had some wideopen, T-up 3s. And we didn’t make them. And you have to against teams like that, because you’re not going to get a lot of those open possessions.”
Evans led VCU with 16 points, but finished 1 of 7 from deep. Jenkins added 10 points, but was 2 of 7 from deep.
Jenkins said the Rams have to use Saturday’s game to get better.
They’ll face another challenge back at home against Dayton (10-5, 2-0 A-10) on Wednesday night.
“It was close but it wasn’t good enough,” Rhoades said of Saturday’s outing. “And that just says that we got work to do, but that’s what’s great about this league, you got to show up every night to be ready to play.”
VCU’s Isaac Vann (23) drives toward the basket against Davidson. Vann scored just 4 points on 1-of-7 shooting as the Rams fell to the Wildcats in Davidson, N.C.
Davidson’s Kellan Grady (left) posts up against VCU’s Marcus Evans. Grady tallied a game-high 21 points for the Wildcats, while Evans scored a team-high 16 for the Rams.