VCU Wins 68-52 as Havoc Defense Befuddles URI
Friday, February 07, 2014
Football fans witnessed a stinker of a Super Bowl last Sunday when the Seahawks used their unorthodox, aggressive defensive scheme to thwart Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ historic offense.
After Thursday night’s game at Virginia Commonwealth, URI basketball fans can relate, aside from having a record breaking offense.
Using their trademark “Havoc” pressure defense, VCU frustrated a depleted Rhody roster all night to the tune of 35% shooting and an offensive performance that resulted in more turnovers (20) than made shots (18).
VCU was just as inept shooting the basketball, converting just 34% of their field goal chances Thursday. The home team won in convincing fashion due to their defensive advantage, winning the steals battle 13 to 6 and turning the ball over just 11 times compared to URI’s 20.
Due to the lack of shooting touch displayed by both teams, there were 84 rebounds between the two squads Thurday, with VCU earning a narrow 44-40 edge. VCU was led by Juvonte Reddic’s 14 points and 11 rebounds.
For URI, Jarelle Reischel scored a team-high 11 points off the bench and Gilvydas Biruta ripped down a game-high 14 rebounds. URI’s inability to develop an offensive rhythm was evidenced by the struggles of their top 3 scorers- Xavier Munford, E.C. Matthews, and Biruta. The trio combined to shoot 9-33 (27%) from the floor.
VCU improves to 19-4 overall and 7-1 in the Atlantic 10. It’s looking more and more like Shaka Smart’s team will be heading back to the NCAA Tournament this season.
URI drops to 11-12 overall and 2-6 in the A-10. Rhody’s next game is Sunday at the Ryan Center against UMass. That game tips at 4 p.m.
--This is the first time this season that URI’s overall record has sagged below .500. A big part of the recent struggles for URI has been their inability to win road games in conference play (they’re currently 0-5 in that department). Head Coach Dan Hurley spoke Monday on the Atlantic 10 Coaches’ Conference Call about his team’s struggles away from home as well as the overall depth of the A-10 playing a role in URI’s recent skid.
“Road games in conference are just so difficult to win, and home games aren’t much easier,” said Hurley. “There’s nowhere you can look on your schedule and find an easy one.”
--Hurley also elaborated Monday on the difficulty his players are facing given the shortened rotation (URI is down to 8 available scholarship players).
“Every time we step on the floor in this conference, If we’re not at our best we have no chance to win,” he said.
--One bright spot of late for URI has been the resurgence of Reischel, the sophomore transfer from Rice. Reischel lost his spot in the starting lineup early in the season and hadn’t been performing up to expectations off the bench, but he’s turned in back to back solid efforts for URI and is quickly becoming an "X-Factor" for the team off the bench. Hurley said Monday that he never lost faith in Resichel as a player and that he expects him to produce the way he has been of late.
“We believe in his talent,” Hurley said. “It’s our job as coaches to get that out of him.”
--Looking ahead to UMass, the Minutemen have been in a bit of a slump lately and fell out of the Top 25 polls this week as a result. URI is still in for a tough game Sunday and Hurley is especially worried about containing star point guard Chaz Williams, a Conference Player of the Year candidate.
“Dealing with a point guard like Chaz Williams is going to be a great challenge,” said Hurley, referencing the fact that URI has lost their two point guards in Mike Powell (transfer) and Biggie Minnis (injury) from the start of the season.