Sophomore Rob Brandenberg scored 17 points Wednesday. He is averaging 13.3 points per game in his last three contests.
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – If you’ve been waiting to see the high-octane offense VCU fans have grown accustomed to the last couple of seasons, Wednesday’s 87-78 victory over William & Mary at Kaplan Hall was for you.
Defense? Optional. Restraint? Unnecessary. Shot clock? Non factor.
The Rams matched a season-high for points and shot better than 50 percent from the floor for the first time since Dec. 22 in the victory. Four VCU players scored in double figures, including sophomore Juvonte Reddic, who finished with 20.
All that offense was a welcome sight for the Rams. While VCU has been one of the top 30 defensive teams in the country, the Rams have also been mediocre at times on offense, entering the night ranked 296th nationally in field goal percentage.
“This is good for our confidence,” VCU Coach Shaka Smart said.
Wednesday’s game is further evidence of the Rams’ offensive progress the last few weeks. VCU is one of the 10 youngest teams in the country, and that showed during a six-game stretch in which the Rams failed to shoot better than 40 percent from the field. But of late, the Rams have shown signs of an offensive revival. VCU had shot 42 percent or higher in three straight games prior to Wednesday’s victory.
“We’re 24 games into the season, we’ve got a lot of guys in new roles this season and they’re getting more comfortable in those roles,” Smart said.
Among those adjusting to new roles is sophomore Rob Brandenberg, who is starting to see light at the end of the tunnel after a brutal shooting slump. Brandenberg scored 17 points and knocked down 5-of-11 shots from the floor. In his last three games, Brandenberg is averaging 13.3 points and shooting 44 percent (14-of-32) from the field.
As good as the Rams scored the basketball against William & Mary, it’s not a stretch to think they could play even better. Leading scorer Bradford Burgess, VCU’s lone senior, finished with nine points, about four fewer than his season average.
Wednesday’s game was the 100th of Shaka Smart’s VCU coaching career. He is 74-26… Brandenberg is averaging 19.5 points per game in two career contests at William & Mary’s Kaplan Hall… Juvonte Reddic did not score in two games with William & Mary last year. He’s scored 28 and 20 against the Tribe this season… Burgess, who has scored nearly 1,500 career points, hasn’t topped double figures against William & Mary in eight career games… The Rams outscored William & Mary in the paint 44-24.