VCU hosted the Duquesne University Dukes for homecoming on Saturday, Jan. 18, just four days after George Washington University ended the Rams’ five-game winning streak. Head coach Shaka Smart’s team got off to a slow start at home, connecting on just 10 of 30 attempts in the first half, but stingy second-half defense helped secure VCU’s 14th win of the season.
The Dukes’ four-point halftime lead vanished quickly when senior forward Juvonte Reddic scored to help the Rams reclaim the lead just four minutes into the second frame. From there, it was tight defense and solid shooting that propelled VCU to an eventual 15-point victory.
Duquesne shot just 30 percent from the field in the second half, while Smart’s team connected on 53 percent of its shots and eight threes in VCU’s 80-65 bounce back performance.
On Tuesday, Jan. 14, the Rams traveled to the nation’s capital to take on the GW Colonials at the Charles E. Smith Center.
Despite 17 points from senior guard Rob Brandenberg, the Rams shot just 37 percent against a stingy 1-3-1 half-court zone defense and struggled to find a solution for the Colonials’ size in the post.
GW forward Kevin Larsen, who is listed at 6-foot-10 and 247 pounds, scored 17 first-half points and the Colonials outrebounded VCU 45-29 in the 76-66 GW win.
Reddic matched up against Larsen for a good portion of the contest and only finished with nine points on 3-9 shooting, while junior Treveon Graham finished with 12 points on 5-15 shooting.
The Rams did manage to score 24 points off of 21 Colonial turnovers; however, GW scored 46 points in the paint and shot 56 percent from the field in the victory. The loss marked the fifth time in the last eight games in which the Rams shot below 39 percent from the field, and dropped VCU’s record to 13-4 on the season.