Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rams win Despite Big Night from Evans

UNCG 86 - VCU 101

News & Record
Richmond Times-Dispatch
UNCG Athletics
VCU Athletics

Brandon Evans had a career high 26 points and Korey Van Dussen scored a career high 18 points Friday night against VCU. However, it wasn't enough to overcome 3 VCU seniors combining for 65 points (Joey Rodriguez 22, Jamie Skeen 22, Brandon Rozzell 23). Rodriguez also broke the school record for assists in a game with 17.

Trailing throughout most the game, UNCG managed to ship down the Ram lead to single digits with 3:38 remaining. However, this was as close as the Spartans would get as VCU responded with 9 straight points to put the game away.

In addition to Trevis Simpson and Taylor Hoffer being held out of the game with injuries, starting point guard Kyle Randall was held out of the game for unspecified reasons.

86 points - I was really scared that UNCG didn't have the fire power to score over 70 points this year. However, it took the Spartans only one game to prove me wrong. This new group of players seemed to not be timid in a very hostile environment. We all know that Evans and KVD have some scoring ability. But it was nice to see Henry (10 pts), Brackett (12 pts) and even David Williams (7 pts & 8 rebs) not shy away from the competition.

Drew Parker - Drew had 8 assists and 3 turnovers in his first college game. VCU pressed UNCG the whole game. So, the fact that Parker was able to show poise and find his teammates often was a great sign.

Shooting - The Spartans were a bad shooting team last year. That's a fact. This UNCG may not be a good shooting team either. Time will tell. For one game, though, UNCG shot very well in all phases of the game. 46% from the field, 44% from 3 point range and 76% is a very good night. These are the kinds of percentages that a team must shoot against a trapping/pressing team to make them pay when they don't force a turnover.

Turnovers - Despite piling up 20 assists, UNCG gave the ball away 21 times. With the way UNCG was shooting the ball and getting to the free throw line, just a few extra possessions could have really been big. The bight side is that outside of maybe Maryland or Clemson, I don't think UNCG will see a better press this season. So, to handle it as well as they did (minus the starting PG) is a testament to the raw skill and ability of the Spartan guards.

Offensive Rebounds - Giving up 18 offensive rebounds to a team that's not much taller than UNCG is disappointing. This is another mid-major team, with mid-major size (although they have some bulk to their size). Rebounding is as much about attitude as it is about skill. Just ask Ben Stywall or Kyle Hines. So this year's version of UNCG is going to have to get tougher on the boards or they really will find themselves in trouble when they play some teams with size advantages.

Wrap up
All-in-all not a bad way to start the season. I would be have loved to seen a Spartan win. But realistically this team had too many questions coming into the game to be disappointed with this outcome. Now let's see how it goes on Sunday against Florida State.