VCU defeated Fordham University 76-60 Jan. 29 at the Siegel Center to improve to 17-4, the best start during head coach Shaka Smart’s five-year tenure.
Despite missing their first six shots and shooting just 33 percent from the field for the game, the Rams still managed to lead by as many as 24 points late in the second half thanks to a tremendous defensive effort. VCU forced 18 turnovers and held Fordham to 23 first-half points in the winning effort.
Junior guard Briante Weber, whose four steals brought him to within two of the school record, felt VCU’s defense was a catalyst for the offense on Wednesday night.
“We pretty much pride ourselves on defense,” Weber said. “If our defense is on were pretty sure the offense will come.”
The Rams held the Atlantic 10’s leading scorer Jon Severe to 9 points on 3-13 shooting. Severe came into the contest averaging 20.2 points per game. Teammate Branden Frazier, the third leading scorer in the conference, was limited to four points.
After the game, Smart said that he thought his team’s back-court defense was key to victory against Fordham.
“To hold those guys to single digits is really good on the part of our guards and something to build on,” Smart said.
On the other side of the ball, sophomore guard Melvin Johnson led VCU in scoring with 13 points. The Rams had an overall balanced scoring attack on Wednesday, as six players scored at least nine points.