In a game of spurts, VCU put together the deciding one as the Rams edged Pitt 71-67 in the consolation game of the Legends Classic. Thursday’s game at the Barclays Center improved the Rams to 3-1 while Pitt dropped to 1-3. VCU hit 8 of 10 from the line in the final 90 seconds to seal the verdict. Numbers….
Offensive efficiency – VCU 97, Pitt 92- but under the targeted century mark,.
eFG pct: Pitt 38, VCU 36
FT rate: VCU 71, Pitt 37
OREB pct: Pitt 32, VCU 24
TO rate: VCU 21, Pitt 25 – The Rams forced 18 Pitt miscues, converting them to 23 points.
What Pitt did well. Battle back after a rough semifinal outing. Against Michigan the prior evening, the Panthers trailed by six at intermission. The second half saw the Wolverines roll to a 91-60 decision. Despite a fast turnaround, Jeff Capel’s club put the Michigan game behind them and competed.
What VCU did well. Find a way to win and get to the line. Despite another less than artistic offensive outing, Mike Rhoades’ Rams dug in and gutted this one out. VCU didn’t shoot well, they turned the ball over but were able to get to the charity stripe.
Kenpom.com MVP: Brandon Johns. The VCU senior scored a team high 18 points, pulled down a game high 9 boards and shot 9 for 11 from the line.
Blake Hinson of Pitt tied Johns for scoring honors as he led the Panthers with 18 points.
Pitt coach Jeff Capel coached VCU from 2002-06. Capel posted 79 wins while leading the Rams to the 2004 NCAA Tournament.
Johns and Jeb Jackson (16 points) are both transfers from Michigan. Certain that coach Capel does not want to hear about the Wolverines for quite some time.
Scoring droughts were evident for the Rams in both the semifinal loss to eventual champion Arizona State, a heartbreaker VCU seemed to have in hand, and the Pitt game. Chalk a lot of it up to some normal early season offensive struggles which happen and notably, lead guard Ace Baldwin jr. being sidelined with a wrist injury.
VCU visits Memphis on Sunday.