Finally, the Rams’ shooting game picked up against Winthrop in their home game earlier this week.
One of the most notable facts about this game is that VCU had six players shoot in double digits. Briante Weber had a career high with 16 points and Terveon Graham followed close behind with 13 points. VCU shot the same as last game from the 3 point line, shooting 35%, but improved from inside. Shots were made in the paint left and right as VCU’s successful field goals rose to 43% this week.
Free throws had been a problem during the preseason and in VCU’s first couple games, but this game proved to be different. It appeared that Coach Smart must have been working on free throws with his team because they made 71% of them against Winthrop. Last week’s game vs UVA was disappointing as they made only 40% of their free throws. Proving that they can make progress this quick is promising for fans because it shows their dedication to strengthening weaknesses.
Winthrop sunk 3 pointers frequently in the beginning of the game but fizzled out as the game progressed. Initially, the game was a basket trade off but VCU eventually took charge, got the lead, and kept it. This game was largely won due to the versatility of the team’s strengths. Not only did VCU have six players shoot in the double digits, they had eleven players on the score board. Fans must be excited about this because knowing the number of strong shooters on and off the bench means strength on the court no matter who is playing.
In addition, VCU forced 25 turnovers. In steals alone, the Rams had 19 this game where as against UVA they only had 9, yet another growth. Watching Coach Smart’s quick plays was relieving to fans who were disappointed after VCU’s performance against UVA. The quick, successful Rams were back on the court against Winthrop and their talent on defense as well as on offense was present.
At the end of the game, younger players were taking control. One of the most exciting players to watch was redshirt freshman, Mo Alie-Cox.
Coach Smart looks for players built like Alie-Cox because of his size and ability to move quickly, despite being 6-foot-6. Alie-Cox shot 100 percent, making all four of his field goals and making the first three point shot of his career. In addition, Alie-Cox finished with 6 rebounds which illustrates his strength under the basket.
With his size and shooting abilities, Alie-Cox will be one to keep an eye on as the season progresses. As his confidence and skill with the team in inreases, he will earn even more freedom from Coach Smart. Alie-Cox will be a challenging matchup.
VCU battles Florida State at the Puerto Rico Tip-off tonight at 7:30 Eastern Time.
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