St. Louis put themselves on the national radar following their 76-62 victory over VCU on Tuesday night. The Billikens took another pelt after beating New Mexico and Butler at home already this season. Vegas installed them a slight favorite to beat the Rams and they did more then that.
The home team flashed the many characteristics of a team that is going to make a run in March. Defense was the most prevalent as they held the Rams to well below their scoring average. VCU was held to just 21 points in the first half, which is well below their average there too. They countered the Rams Havoc press with very few turnovers, which forced them to play a half court game, which isn’t exactly the team’s strength.
Eight different players scored for SLU, led by Jordair Jett’s 16. Mike McCall Jr. added 15 while Dwayne Evans put in 14 points in the victory. The deep team did not tire in the second half like many of the VCU opponents in the past. Arguably the team’s best player, Kwamain Mitchell scored only six points in the game, but was more important facilitating the offense and keeping the turnovers down.
On the losing side, Juvonte Reddic put in 19 points, adding 11 rebounds. Treveon Graham missed 12 of 16 shots in the game and seemed a little off all evening long. Troy Daniels and Rob Brandenburg combined for 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting. The Rams are most likely still in the NCAA Tournament, but they would do well to add another quality win or two. They have victories over Memphis on a neutral court and Belmont out-of-conference.
So what’s next? Both teams continue their tough weeks as St. Louis goes to Butler on Friday with the Bulldogs looking for revenge from the pasting they received earlier this month. VCU, meanwhile, goes to the Cintas Center to take on a Xavier team that is competent at home. As we’ve said in previous articles, it’s just another day in the Atlantic-10.