Two days after their first win over a ranked opponent since 1994, the VCU men’s basketball avoided a let-down and knocked off Hampton 63-52 Monday.
Bradford Burgess (Midlothian/Benedictine) put the Rams on his back en route to his first career double-double, finishing with career-highs 18 points and 10 rebounds.
The sophomore opened up each half with a smooth 3-pointer. He connected on 3 of 7 from long range. The rest of VCU combined for just 3 of 17.
Hampton’s zone defense allowed VCU nary a clean look in the paint.
“With them, I knew it was going to be tough going inside,” said VCU junior Larry Sanders (Fort Pierce, Fla./Port St. Lucie).
Sanders and the Rams compensated by becoming more aggressive. Four Pirates picked up at least three fouls to add to the team’s 20 altogether. The Rams didn’t always capitalize, however-they shot 17 of 28 from the free-throw line (60.7 percent).
VCU had lost four of its past five true road games dating back to last season. The Rams also avenged a loss from their last trip to Hampton in 2007.
“It’s a tough place to play. I learned that my freshman year,” Sanders said. “A lot of pride. They never back down.”
Michael Freeman paced the Pirates with 13 points; Brandon Tunnell led both squads with five assists.
The Rams improved to 3-1. Hampton remains winless through three games.
By the numbers
VCU (3-1): Gavin 3, Sanders 11, Rodriguez 10, Burgess 18, Gwynn 9, Theus 1, Pishchalnikov 0, Rozzell 2, Nixon 9
Totals: 20 17-28 63
3-pointers: Rodriguez 2, Burgess 3, Nixon 1 (6-24 team)
Hampton (0-3): Pellum 6, Simpson 10, Tuitt 4, Freeman 13, Lola-Charles 2, Brooks 0, Tunnell 4, Funches 4, Tolson 5, Morgan 4, Ntoko 0
Totals: 22 6-16 52
3-pointers: Tolson 1, Morgan 1 (2-16 team)