VCU men’s basketball finds success in capitalizing on turnovers

Men's basketball forced a season-high 27 turnovers Saturday night against Florida Gulf Coast. Photo by Jon Mirador

Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor

Earlier this season, coach Mike Rhoades said his team needed to capitalize on turnovers by scoring on the other end of the plays. 

Through the first two games, the Rams forced 19 turnovers against St. Francis (Pa.) and 18 against North Texas, but scored 20 points off the errors in each game. VCU outscored St. Francis and North Texas in points off turnovers, but only a combined 40-33. 

The tide turned for the black and gold when they forced 26 turnovers against LSU, scoring 37 points off them. In the last two games against Jacksonville State and Florida Gulf Coast, the Rams outscored their opponents 64-20. 

Rhoades said the team worked on taking advantage of turnovers in practice. 

“I’ve been stopping it a lot when we get a turnover in practice, and we don’t convert and just holding our guys more accountable,” Rhoades said.  

In Saturday night’s win over Florida Gulf Coast, the Rams forced 27 turnovers, off of which they scored 37 points. The Rams turned over the ball a season-low eight times, only allowing the Eagles to score 3 points on the errors. 

“That’s what they do. I think they do it better than anybody in the country and have for a long time,” Florida Gulf Coast coach Michael Fly said of the Rams’ defense. “Unfortunately, right now, we’re also a really high turnover team.”

Florida Gulf Coast has turned over the ball 116 times this season after Saturday night’s game in Richmond. 

The Rams’ Havoc defense relies on turnovers and generating offense from them. Entering the matchup against the Eagles, the black and gold were 13th in the country in turnovers forced per game at 21.

Everybody knows that if we play defense at a high level like we have been doing, it will always give us a chance to win a game,” Rhoades said. “Our guys know that. It’s just what we do at a high level.”

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