UR earned an impressive 67-52 win over VCU in the Capital City Classic at the Siegel Center. I took the pulse of the game and looked forward toward the rest of the season for both teams.
- Paul Friendshuh gave some quality defensive minutes on Justin Tillman. Grant Golden led the charge to slow down Tillman and added 17 points on the offensive side on an efficient 8 for 13 from the field. Their size enabled UR to out rebound VCU 38-28. When it came to the guards, it seemed to be a simple effort edge for UR when it came to boxing out.
- The last several games in this rivalry have featured a second half run by VCU. The best run in the game for the Rams came late in the first and was only 7 points. Were there too many players in rotation to get into a groove? These runs are often started by defensive pressure in the full court. The Spiders didn’t dominate the press, but survived it. VCU has lacked killer instinct on full court defense this year.
- Is a season changing run coming for UR, like last year? Lots of people have complained about Coach Chris Mooney’s ability to navigate his club through a top-notch non-conference slate the last two seasons. Last year the Spiders surged once A10 play began. Could we see a similar situation this season?
- What’s happened to Khris Lane for VCU? He has played single digit minutes the last 4 games. In 15 games this season he played double digit minutes and he shot under 40% only 3 times. VCU could have used his offensive efficiency. They shot just 34% compared to UR’s 53%.
- The crowd was taken out of it fairly quickly and didn’t receive many chances to get back in it, particularly in the second half. I asked a few VCU fans if they are concerned they have become “entitled” to supporting an NCAA tournament caliber team. Some said yes, and I wonder if that affected this game. When you play a rival and have a win streak going, if you play afraid, which I thought VCU did at times, the crowd can sense it. I’d bet the Rams shake that real quick and pick themselves up.
Also On ESPN Richmond: