Score: VCU 80, Florida Gulf Coast 57
Record: VCU (1-0), Florida Gulf Coast (0-1)
Location: Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center – Richmond, Va.
The Short Story: Havoc was on display right away as VCU opened its 2012-13 campaign with an 80-57 victory over Florida Gulf Coast in front of the 19th consecutive sellout at the Siegel Center. Sophomore Briante Weber highlighted the Rams' defensive prowess with a school-record 10 steals to go along with a career-high tying 13 points. Classmate Treveon Graham led VCU in scoring with 15 points and seven rebounds.
FGCU STARTERS: #0 Brett Comer, #2 Bernard Thompson, #12 Eric McKnight, #20 Chase Fieler, #25 Sherwood Brown
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- With the Rams leading 11-10 at the 11:56 mark of the first half, VCU ran off a 18-2 run capped off by a three-pointer by Teddy Okereafor with 8:27 left before halftime.
- The lead reached 26 heading into the break thanks to six three-pointers and 16 turnovers forced for the Black & Gold. Graham led all scorers at the break with nine points.
- After trading buckets to start the second half, two consecutive steals by Weber sparked a 7-0 run in less than a minute to give VCU its largest lead of the game at 31, 62-31.
- Bernard Thompson and Sherwood Brown kept the Eagles going offensively, each scoring double-figures in the second half and bringing FGCU within 21, but that's as close as they would get.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:
- Weber set a school-record with his 10 steals, breaking the old record of seven, which was achieved by six different players in school history. The last Ram to notch seven steals was Joey Rodriguez in 2008.
- As a team, VCU tied the single-game record with 20 steals, which they set last year in a home victory over UNC Wilmington.
- The win was the 26th straight victory for the Black & Gold when they score 65 points or more.
- VCU had six different players connect on three-pointers, led by senior Troy Daniels, who had three on the evening.
Head Coach Shaka Smart
- "I thought the crowd was terrific again tonight. It's great to be back here in the Siegel Center in front of our fans. This is just a special place to be. I thought our fans and our students played as a big of a role as anybody in allowing us to go on a run early in the first half."
- "I thought it was a decent performance tonight. In the first half, we played with great energy, I liked that our guys flew around, but we certainly weren't mistake free, even in the first half. But I liked our aggressiveness."
- "Briante has the quickest hands I've ever seen and that was evident tonight, but he still has to work on his discipline on the defensive end particularly as our opposition continues to get better and better moving forward."
Sophomore Briante Weber
- "I'm just as shocked as everyone else, I wasn't counting. It's nice, but that's not what I'm worried about. I'm worried about being a team player and doing whatever it takes to help my team win."
Junior Rob Brandenberg
- "Any time you get a win, it's a good feeling. But our second half we led up and weren't as sharp. In order to achieve the goals that we have for ourselves, we have to get better and do our jobs for a full 40 minutes."
Sophomore Treveon Graham
- "The credit really goes to my teammates and coaches. They're the ones who instill confidence in me to go out there and play my game. That's all I was trying to do tonight."
COMING UP NEXT:
- VCU returns to action on Tuesday evening when they host the Shockers of Wichita State. Game time on ESPNU is set for 7 p.m.