Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Takeaways from the VCU vs UVA Game

From VCU Athletics 

Both teams gave it there all last night, but VCU's Treveon Graham took the last second shot for the rams to win the game and avoid overtime with the Cavaliers. This game was an instant classic with both teams battling and throwing punches left and right. Once one team went on a short run the other team would come storming back to get a lead of their own. The two standouts from the game were UVA's Joe Harris, who was the leading scorer of the Cavaliers with 18 points, and VCU's Treveon Graham, who not only hit the game winning shot, but also was the leading scorer for the Rams with 22 points.

UVA executed well on offense and defense by keeping the game in check and not letting the game become a track meet which would favor VCU. UVA forced VCU into getting shots off late in the shot clock and contesting every single one of them. UVA out rebounded VCU and blocked 8 of VCU's shots.

VCU really gave the UVA guards a hard time getting up and down the court specifically Malcolm Brogdon, who turned the ball over 4 times and was exposed for his weak handle of the ball versus Briante Weber and the gang. VCU also guarded the 3 point line very well holding UVA to 1-8 from 3 pointers.

Here are some takeaways from the game that both teams can build upon and need to work on during this season:

What Both Teams Need to Work on:

  1. Free Throws-Both teams struggled from the charity stripe tonight. VCU went 6-15 from the line and missed some key free throws to put the game out of the reach. UVA went 19-33 from the line and missed the chance to take the lead at the end with Malcolm Brogden only making 1-2 with 10 seconds left.  Joe Harris, who is a great free throw shooter, went 3-6 from the line. Harris was carrying UVA and you could see he just didn't have his legs under him after having to run up and down the court with VCU.  Terrance Shannon must hit more than 1-5 free throws in other close games if the Rams want to come out on top.
  2. Transfers-Both UVA and VCU have new additions to their rosters Anthony Gill and Terrance Shannon. Gill is originally from USC, but transferred and was forced to sit out last year unlike Shannon who transferred from FSU and was granted immediate eligibility from the NCAA. Both are very good players for each team, but were non factors for most part of the game. Gill got into foul trouble which limited his playing time to only 16 minutes. In that time Gill got up no shots and pulled down just 4 rebounds. If UVA wants to contend with schools like Duke, UNC, and Syracuse this season they must have another post presence besides Akil Mitchell. Shannon also got into foul trouble which limited his playing time to 19 minutes. In those 19 minutes he went 1-3 from the field, 1-5 from the charity stripe, and only pulled down 1 rebound. Shannon has to be more aggressive on the boards if he is struggling offensively one night. He also must play better post defense and not allow his man to establish position and get to the spot that he wants to. 3 Atkins is not very skilled player in the post, but he made up for it by hustling and moving without the ball which aloud him to get 24 minutes of playing time and have 6 points and 8 rebounds during that time.  

What UVA Needs to Fix:
  • UVA Needs to Find a True Point Guard-Malcolm Brogdon was very confident coming into the game saying how they should be able to get the ball up the without to many problems. While they did break the press a couple of times, most of the time when VCU ran it UVA was flustered and gave the ball up with bad passes or just being careless with the ball. Brogdon tried to break the press, but he was just getting exposed by Briante Weber and the other Rams with his average ball handling skills. Brogdon is a very good player don't get me wrong, but having to play a two guard at the point guard position versus the Rams will not end well for UVA. Brogdon just is not a natural point guard facilitator like Tony Bennett has had over the years with guys like Jontel Evans or even Sammy Zeglinski. Brogdon will be the most effective playing the off the ball. It is just the second game of the season so he could get better at running the point, but I just don't think it fits him playing that position. London Perrantes, freshman guard out of California, seems like sooner or later he will start at the point guard position. He has a very good shot and a much better handle on the ball. He just seems more comfortable running the team over guys like Brogdon and Tevin Jones.

What VCU Needs to Improve on:
  • Half court Offensive Sets-Every year under Shaka the Rams have gotten better in running half court sets on offense and defense. They will need to get better at executing their game plan in those situations though because not every game will be an up-tempo style of play and might be a slow downed game like the one last night at UVA. If the Rams can be efficient in the half court set of things then the Rams are going to be a deadly team this year. Briante Weber has shown he is capable of taking the role as the leader on the court with Darius Theus gone. The next step for Weber is to become a threat in "Pick and Rolls" and in dribble drive situations where he either penetrates to the basket or kicks it back out for an open three. If he gets better at that than the sky is the limit with Briante because he already has the physical tools to make it in the NBA. 

Overall this game was an instant classic and one I will never forget. Both teams are going to be very good by the time March rolls by and who knows maybe they will meet again in the NCAA Tournament.
Treveon Graham and the Rams celebrate after the game winner

Treveon Graham's Dagger over Perrantes

Box Score:
Virginia Commonwealth Rams
Terrance Shannon, F191-30-01-5011001043
Juvonte Reddic, F224-61-10-0145110149
Rob Brandenberg, G253-81-20-0112330127
Briante Weber, G382-60-10-2044220224
Treveon Graham, G328-152-54-70331202122
Jarred Guest, F100-20-00-0112011120
Mo Alie-Cox, F110-10-00-0011000030
Jordan Burgess, G172-51-30-0011000245
Melvin Johnson, G132-60-10-0112000244
JeQuan Lewis, G122-50-01-1022000215
Doug Brooks, G10-10-10-0011000000
Virginia Cavaliers
Akil Mitchell, F292-50-05-7022202229
Anthony Gill, F160-00-00-0044010130
Malcolm Brogdon, G303-80-14-60552114210
Justin Anderson, G211-60-11-2213101233
Joe Harris, G347-121-43-61452003418
Darion Atkins, F243-60-02-5448012218
Mike Tobey, F112-40-01-2549002035
Teven Jones, G90-10-01-2000100101
London Perrantes, G260-40-22-3044110432

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