The VCU Rams defeated the Saint Joseph’s Hawks 80-64 this afternoon in Hagan Arena. VCU provided a steady stream of scoring on their way to victory. The Rams played great defense and had no problem scoring on Saint Joe’s. On the other side, Saint Joe’s was missing their number one scoring option in Ryan Daly, who was out with an injury. The Hawks had issues finding easy baskets around the rim as they continued to settle for outside jumpers the entire game.
Keep VCU on your Radar
Heading into this matchup, VCU was heavily favored and for a good reason. On a per-game basis, the Rams rank 6th in steals and 14th in blocks nationally. Against the Hawks, the Rams continued their staunch defense by forcing 13 steals and four blocks.
On the offensive side of the ball VCU had five players score within double digits. Nah’Shon Hyland, VCU’s best offensive player this season, didn’t even break double digit scoring. The Rams were able to run their offense and secure the win even with Hyland having an off night.
VCU shot 46% from the field with most of their scoring coming from within the paint and at the foul line. While VCU did start out cold in the beginning of the game, the team quickly found its footing after the first ten minutes. VCU looks to be a legitimate A10 title contender and should be on everyone’s radar.
Saint Joe’s is Regressing
While VCU is trending in the right direction, Saint Joe’s is going the opposite way. To start, VCU had no problem exposing the Hawk’s weak interior defense. Saint Joe’s committed 21 fouls and allowed VCU to score easily from within the paint. In addition, Saint Joe’s was careless with the ball. While VCU did force 13 steals, the Hawks had 25 turnovers in total. Saint Joe’s was careless with the ball and committed way too many unforced errors.
The amazing game against Auburn feels like it happened years ago. Saint Joe’s went from a team that looked to change the landscape of the Atlantic 10, to a team that looks lost. The Hawk’s three point shooting will not work if the team shoots 29% from three, as they did tonight.
Every game is a story that can write itself. The Hawks unusual style will catch a team off guard as they climb to an early lead. However, their opponents always make the right adjustments and take control by the end of the first half. Saint Joe’s seems to always play the same style and never change their approach.
However, there was one bright spot worth mentioning. Dahmir Bishop did have a solid night. The sophomore scored 20 points on 46% shooting. Bishop started the game off well scoring 13 of the Hawks first 18 points. However, the majority of Bishop’s scoring, 15 of his 20 points, came within the first half.
VCU had their way against Saint Joe’s. The Rams were clearly a much more organized team. They know their system and can operate easily within it. It is pretty clear that VCU is a serious contender for the Atlantic 10 title.
On the other hand, Saint Joe’s is still a young team trying to find an identity. This could be a very long conference schedule if the Hawks refuse to change their strategy on offense and stop relying so heavily on long distance three’s.