Game of the Night
VCU Rams 63, Massachusetts Minutemen 69
Going into this game, not many people saw an upset coming. In fact, maybe no one saw it coming. The UMass Minutemen entered as losers of 8 out of their last 9 games. With so many recent struggles, it seemed UMass did not have much of a chance against the mighty Rams. VCU had a 12 game win streak going for it but lost at home to George Washington its last time out. In the days leading up to this game, most thought the Rams would play with added anger, seeking to avenge their loss and start a new win streak . As it turned out, however, the Minutemen seemed like the ones playing with a little extra passion.
UMass got off to a hot start, nailing their first seven three pointers of the game. This appeared to help inspire the Minutemen and raise the belief that they could take down VCU. UMass controlled much of the first half, gaining a 14 point advantage at one time. Shooting a deadly 61% resulted in the Minutemen taking a 43-32 lead into halftime.
With a share of first place in the A10 and NCAA tournament implications on the line, VCU refused to go down without a fight. They battled hard in the second half trying to cut into the UMass lead. With just a few minutes remaining, they finally succeeded and tied the game. The Minutemen, however, did not get down on themselves after blowing the lead. Instead, they played harder than ever before and came out on top. Umass’ 69-63 win certainly shocked a lot of people not only in the A10, but also around the nation. VCU now falls into a tie for second in the conference with St. Joe’s behind Dayton. What’s worse, this loss definitely affects the Rams’ tournament hopes. The projected 10 seed will now possibly find itself back on the bubble after losing two straight.
Sophomore Donte Clark led the way for UMass tonight. He put up a quality 22 points on 8/12 shooting. Senior leaders Trey Davis and Jabarie Hinds also made big contributions as both scored 18 points. Even though VCU had four players score in double figures, it was not enough for them tonight. Lewis, Johnson, Alie-Cox, and Billbury all had solid games, but fell short to the Minutemen. UMass is next in action Sunday at Duquesne. VCU only gets one day of rest as they return home Saturday hoping to avenge themselves against Saint Louis. A game like this once again proves how tough it is to win road games in the Atlantic 10 Conference.