RICHMOND, Va. – Second half defense had been troublesome, actually, downright alarming for VCU this season.
Prior to Wednesday’s 69-46 win over South Florida at the Verizon Wireless Arena, the Rams had allowed their opponents to shoot 56 percent in the second half. That includes Sunday’s loss at 13th-ranked Alabama, when the Crimson shot 62 percent in the final 20 minutes on the way to a 72-64 triumph.
The Rams decided that wasn’t happening again on Wednesday.
“We talked about that at the half,” VCU Head Coach Shaka Smart said of the Rams’ second half effort. “Second half defense has been a big emphasis of ours because we’ve struggled to stop teams in the second half.”
Smart may want to bottle that halftime speech and sell it. The Bulls shot a paltry 26 percent (6-of-23) after the break, including 0-of-6 from beyond the 3-point arc. As a result, VCU outscored USF 41-18 in the second half as a 28-all tie became a laugher.