Saturday, January 12, 2008

VCU stifles Hofstra

As with the game VCU played on Thursday night, a win against Georgia State, the Rams struggled on offense today. VCU won again, because once again, it made the visitors struggle even more: VCU 59, Hofstra 49.

This afternoon Hofstra, a team that very much needs to score points from outside, went 0-for-11 on its three-point attempts.

VCU senior guard Jamal Shuler (pictured above) said, “I wasn’t focused on offense at all, because I had a big task.”

Shuler’s “task” was to shadow Hofstra’s high-scoring guard Antoine Agudio, who came to the Siegel Center ranked fourth in the nation in scoring (26.2 points per game). Shuler and his Rams teammates’ smothering defense made Agudio work hard in scoring his 14 points for the game. Most of his shots were forced.

The crowd of 5,121, including Gov. Tim Kaine, saw a contest in which neither team ever put together anything resembling a run. Except for the first five minutes and change, the Rams led all the way. VCU’s junior point guard, Eric Maynor, led all scorers with 18 points.

However, VCU’s head coach, Anthony Grant, can’t be happy with the way Maynor has played in the last two home games. On Thursday he was not particularly aggressive, almost nonchalant at times. In today’s contest Maynor made several ill-advised passes.

Without the effort of Shuler (10 points and eight rebounds), Joey Rodriguez (five points, four rebounds and three assists) and Wil Fameni (10 points and four rebounds), Maynor could have been the goat of this CAA tilt. Of course, the good news about this slump by VCU’s star player, the preseason pick to be the CAA’s Player of the Year, is that the Rams are learning that they can win when he’s not playing at his best.

Grant said, “I’m proud of the way our guys defended ... we struggled offensively.”

On Wed., Jan. 16, VCU (11-4, 4-1 in CAA), now in second place in the CAA standings, will host the team perched at the top, Delaware (8-7, 5-0 in CAA), at 7:30 p.m.

-- Photo by F.T. Rea

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