Saturday, January 26, 2008

VCU separates from CAA field

Eric Maynor scored 18 points in the second half.

In the course of a five minute stretch early in the second half, point guard Eric Maynor drove for four layups. In that time the VCU Rams stretched their lead over the Drexel Dragons from two points to 12. Until then the score had stayed close. It never was again.

Before a crowd of 7,506 (a sellout) at the Siegel Center VCU went on to defeat Drexel by a score of 76 to 64.

Maynor finished with 20 points and five assists. Jamal Shuler, the other half of the Rams dynamic duo — there is no better pair of guards in the CAA — scored 17 points and hauled in eight boards.

In the first half Drexel led most of the way, although VCU took a one-point advantage, 27 to 26, into the locker room. What had been a slow and methodical pace favored the Dragons. It gave the Rams few transition opportunities. After the intermission VCU turned up the pressure on defense and ran Drexel off the floor.

Bruiser Flint, in his seventh season as head coach at Drexel, is always an entertaining guy to watch. Not one to disappoint a full house, he got so exasperated watching Maynor shred his defense he pounded on the scorer’s table with his fist, which promptly earned him a technical foul.

Before the episode was over Flint ended up down at the Rams end of the floor, laughing first with Shuler, then with VCU head coach Anthony Grant.

“Tonight I was proud of our guys,” said Grant, “the way we played the second half. Good players respond to challenges. After the first half, [Maynor and Shuler] knew they needed to step up.”

In other CAA action, all three second place teams lost, to give VCU a two-game lead on four teams, all at 6-3 in league games. They are George Mason, William & Mary, Delaware and UNC Wilmington.

And, across town at the Robins Center Richmond stunned 16th ranked Dayton by a score of 80 to 63.

Next up for VCU (15-4, 8-1 in CAA) is a Tuesday showdown pitting the Rams against the team named by the media preseason poll to finish No. 1 in the league, Mason (14-6, 6-3 in CAA), in its gym. The 7 p.m. tilt will be shown on ESPN2.

-- Words and photo by F.T. Rea


Anonymous said...

ready to drop the Richmond bias and finally give praise to Virginia Tech? They dropped the #2 team in the ACC on the road today without their best player! (Jeff Allen)

They play in a REAL conference. HOKIES.

anonymous anonymous said...

Terry, how these recent Rams teams stack up against J.D. Barnett's squads?

F.T. Rea said...

Anonymous anonymous,

Barnett went 132-48 (73%) in six seasons. Grant is 42-12 (78%), now in his second year.

Last year's win against Duke was VCU's biggest win, ever, in my view.

This year's team may be as good as Barnett's best teams. But today's team is still getting better.