Six players scored in double-figures and junior guard Briante Weber set the VCU career steals record as the Rams defeated cross-town rival University of Richmond 81-70 at the Siegel Center on Saturday, Feb. 1.
With the win, head coach Shaka Smart’s team improved to 6-1 in the Atlantic 10 conference and 18-4 on the season.
In addition to five steals, Weber notched a team-high 14 points for the Rams. Senior forward Juvonte Reddic pitched in with his third consecutive double-double, but Smart said after the game it was a team effort on the defensive end that propelled VCU to its 10th win in 11 games.
“I thought our focus, in the first half, on some of the defensive details was terrific,” Smart said. “That really is what allowed us to win the game — our first-half defense.”
On that front, the Rams were forced to overcome a stellar performance from Spiders guards Anthony Kendall and Cedrick Lindsay, who combined for 52 of Richmond’s 70 points. VCU shot 58 percent from the field in the second half, and collectively blocked nine shots in the winning effort.
Junior guard Treveon Graham injured his toe in the team’s previous game against Fordham University on Wednesday, but managed to tally 13 points on 2-6 shooting in 26 minutes of play.
The Rams jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and held an advantage throughout the duration of the contest in front of a sold-out crowd at the Siegel Center.
Saturday’s game marked the 16th straight home win and 46th consecutive sellout for VCU, which moved into sole possession of second place in the A-10 with the victory.
Weber said he thought the energetic crowd helped set the tone for his play.
“I definitely off of them at the beginning of the game,” Weber said after the victory. “They help me get my pregame jitters out.”
It took less than eight minutes for the junior to surpass Rolando Lamb’s 29-year-old record of 257 steals. Weber, who leads the nation in steals, picked up two more thefts in the game and finished the contest with 260 through 94 career games.
Up next for VCU is Rhode Island University, which visits the Siegel Center on Thursday, Feb. 6.