VIDEO: VCU RAMS WORK OVERTIME, TOP EASTERN KENTUCKY

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VCU-EASTERN KENTUCKY NOTEBOOK

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Freshman JeQuan Lewis scored 13 points Thursday in VCU's 71-68 victory.

Freshman JeQuan Lewis scored 13 points Thursday in VCU’s 71-68 victory.

RICHMOND, Va. – As pure entertainment, VCU’s 71-68 overtime win over Eastern Kentucky Thursday at the Verizon Wireless Arena was terrific. There was practically March intensity in an early December game, the score was close, it was, for the most part, well-played, and the pace was often dizzying.

But Rams’ Coach Shaka Smart can invest very little emotionally in the basketball on the floor as a consumable product. As a coach, he’s got to be more clinical. For Smart, there’s likely more value in the victory as a progress report of sorts.

On that level, there was much for him to see. Some things, he’ll like, others, he won’t. But for the second straight game, his team provided a window through which to view how good it could be. On the other hand, Smart knows the Rams have plenty of work to do.

While the fans and media were bullish on VCU from day one, Smart has never sold the Rams as being a finished project. Sure, he’d like them to be, and Smart wants the Rams to be as good – and even better – as that top 10 ranking they once held, but we live in a world of college basketball where North Carolina can lose to UAB and then beat top-ranked Michigan State. The game is unpredictable, and teams don’t always realize their potential when coaches want. VCU certainly has moments of greatness. Capturing it and honing it is a skill in and of itself.

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VCU-EKU POSTGAME PRESSERS

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VCU PLAYERS

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EASTERN KENTUCKY COACH JEFF NEUBAUER

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SHAKA SMART

YOU MIGHT WANT TO PUT A BODY ON MARCUS LEWIS

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Meet Eastern Kentucky's Marcus Lewis.

Eastern Kentucky’s Marcus Lewis is known for his high-flying dunks and is averaging 12.9 points per game this year.

Meet Eastern Kentucky guard Marcus Lewis.

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That’s some seriously dunkage. In some way, you can think of Lewis as being the Colonels’ Briante Weber. This season, Lewis is EKU’s second-leading scorer at 12.9 points per game. He’s shooting .594 from the field, which I assume is because he spends most of his time just dunking in people’s grills. In the last two seasons, Lewis has 40 dunks. This year, he has 15 in eight games. The rest of his teammates have seven – combined. Either way, he’s going to be a fun match-up for somebody Thursday.

This week, VCU Coach Shaka Smart called Lewis, “maybe the most athletic kid in the country,” and said his dunk in the video above was one of the most impressive he’s ever seen.

If Thursday’s game is tied after regulation, we’re going to petition the NCAA for a Marcus Lewis/Briante Weber dunk contest to settle it. I’ll let you know what they say.

Update with official NCAA response: “You must have hit your head on the rim. Hard.”

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