TOWSON, Md. – The list of famous generals throughout American history is very long. From General Patton to General Grant to General Eisenhower, that list is now a little longer with the addition of senior Joey Rodriguez of the Virginia Commonwealth University.
For awhile now, Head Coach Shaka Smart has been referring to Rodriguez as the "General" because of his ability to keep his troops together when things aren't going the Rams way. On Monday night, Rodriguez did that once again pouring in a career-high 28 points to lead the Black & Gold a critical 80-76 victory over Towson.
"He was unbelievable tonight, but that's not surprising to anyone surrounding this program," Smart said. "He was struggling with his shot, but we knew a game like this was coming. Luckily for us, it was when we needed it the most."
Rodriguez went 9-of-14 from the field, including a career-high six three-points en route to 28 points, four rebounds and three assists. The six three's bring him into a tie with Bo Jones for second-place all-time with 182 during his career.
"I just want to do anything possible to help this team win," Rodriguez said. "Tonight, my shots just happen to be falling tonight so I kept firing. There are so many guys on this team that can have nights like this, it just happened to be my turn."
With the game tied at 10 early, Rodriguez drilled back-to-back three-pointers to give VCU its largest lead of the game at 16-10 with 13:43 left before halftime. However, Towson answered with two three's of their own to even the game at 16-16.
Over the next seven minutes, neither team was able to stretch a lead above three until a jumper by Braxton Dupree gave the Tigers a four-point cushion with 5:47 remaining in the first half.
The second half was much of the same with neither team leading by more than two over the first seven minutes until sophomore Troy Daniels banged home a three-pointer which gave the Rams a lead for good.
VCU would extend its lead to six three different times before Towson came back to cut the lead to one, before Rodriguez sliced to the basket for a lay-up with 35 seconds remaining to seal the road victory.
"Great teams have to w in on the road and it's good to keep doing that," Smart said. "Throughout the course of the season, teams are going to run into games like this and great teams find way to win them."
Rodriguez was one of four Rams in double-figures with Burgess, Brandenberg and senior Jamie Skeen all tallied 11 points on the evening. Senior Ed Nixon (pictured, left) had a complete game with eight points, a career-high five assists and four rebounds.
The Black & Gold are now a perfect 15-0 when they score 80 points or more under Coach Smart.
Dupree led Towson with 22 points and seven rebounds, while Josh Brown finished with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists.
VCU is now set-up for a first-place showdown with Hofstra on Thursday night at the Siegel Center. It will be a nationally-televised contest on ESPNU with tip time set for 7 p.m.