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Mace & Crown | April 22, 2018

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Heavy Ram Trucked: Daniels, Graham combined for 47 in double-digit road win

A record-setting eight three-pointers propelled Troy Daniels to a 24 point performance and a Virginia Commonwealth University 83-70 victory over Old Dominion University.  Eight thousand and eighty were in attendance Friday, Dec. 7 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center to witness the next chapter of the rivalry.

Daniels and teammate Treveon Graham combined for 47 total points, with 23 from the forward as the Rams (6-3) dominated for most of the game before the Monarchs (1-8) closed the gap to 12 with eight minutes remaining. Brad Bradenburg made VCU’s eleventh three-pointer on the night to push the lead to 17 and essentially close out the game.

DeShawn Painter led all Monarchs in scoring with 26 points and 10 rebounds and Donte Hill added 13 points, six assists and four steals in the loss.

Graham and company rebuilt a 19 point lead over ODU with just over six minutes to play. The Monarchs then built a 10-3 run to cut the Ram’s lead to 12, but never got closer than 11 the rest of the way. ODU’s largest lead was just three points when the Monarchs lead 8-5 three minutes into the game, while VCU lead by as much as 20 points in a 41-21 first half cushion.

The game pitted longtime Colonial Athletic Association rivals against one another after both teams bolted the conference last season. VCU, who joined the Atlantic 10 before the season began, played their lone matchup against the Monarchs, who opted to leave the CAA for the Conference-USA beginning next season.

Daniels had 18-points at the half, including one of his three’s which gave the Rams a 16-point lead with over two minutes remaining in the first half.

VCU went on a 22-4 run with the help of Daniels’ six first half three-point baskets and Graham’s nine rebounds. Painter ended the drought with a reverse layup to take the Monarchs to their biggest run of the game, a 13-6 outpacing to begin the second half.

Painter chipped in 11 of those points that included a three-pointer from the top of the key.

After the game, head coach Shaka Smart assessed his team’s performance and noted what the team still lacked intangibly.

“I thought our guys, we played well in spurts. We still have not developed the killer instinct necessary to put [teams] away. That’s something we’ll continue to work on,” Smart said. “Allowing 70 points is too much for us so we’re going to get back to the basics over the next week for our next game and get better.”

Blaine Taylor admitted his team is going through a very challenging period and noted that they’re having a difficult time defending the level of play they’ve expected.

“We’ve got marquee players on other teams that are having career nights against us. We missed some free throws, we missed some easy shots. We’re developing offensively,” an optimistic Taylor said. “The rebounding margin, we’re competing if you look at that. Guys are diving on the floor, guys are trying.”

“I guess my disappointment is I’ve got some guys that have been here for two, three, four, five years that I feel like I need to get more out of and we need all of them,” Taylor said. “It’s not like we’re man overboard but we’re just going need to get more out of more guys if we’re going to get where we need to go.”

Despite Painter’s team-high 26 point performance, the senior center expressed disappointment that it didn’t propel them to a home victory in his final crack at this historic in-state rivalry.

“It was a good performance but it just wasn’t enough. That performance was very good but with no win, it doesn’t feel good,” Painter admitted after the loss.

ODU shot 41 percent from the floor and made just 60 percent of their free throw attempts. The Monarchs also out-rebounded the Rams 43-32, 20-14 on the offensive glass, in a losing effort.

By: Brian Jerry

Senior Writer