Score: VCU 78, #19 Memphis 65
Record: VCU (3-1), Memphis (2-1)
Location: Imperial Arena - Atlantis Resorts - Nassau, Bahamas
The Short Story: Behind a career-high 26 points from Treveon Graham and 13 three-pointers, the Rams took down 19th-ranked Memphis, 78-65, in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. HAVOC reigned supreme on the resort island, forcing the Tigers into 22 turnovers and notching 14 more steals. Sophomore Rob Brandenberg drilled a career-high five three-pointers in the victory.
MEMPHIS STARTERS: #0 Ferrakohn Hall, #1 Joe Jackson, #3 Chris Crawford, #4 Adonis Thomas, #10 Tarik Black
How It Happened
- From the tip, Havoc was on display, forcing turnovers from Memphis on four of their first six possessions as the Rams ran out 12-4 lead on back-to-back three-pointers from Graham and senior Troy Daniels.
- More turnovers and more three-pointers, this time from Graham and Brandenberg, helped the Black & Gold claim its largest lead of the game at 16, 35-19, with 6:15 remaining in the first half.
- Back-and-forth buckets sent the teams into the halftime break with VCU leading 42-28.
- As expected, the Tigers didn't go away quietly, fighting back in the start of the second half to get within three at 50-47 with 12:12 left.
- That's when Graham stepped up and hit a huge three-pointer and was fouled to push VCU's lead back to seven at 54-47.
- Once again, Memphis would respond, going inside and getting three straight buckets, including a jumper from Tarik Black that brought the Tigers within two at 63-61 with just over four minutes to play.
- But once again, VCU answered with a huge layup from Graham and two back-breaking three-pointers from Brandenberg that ultimately sealed the deal and secured the 78-65 upset for the Black & Gold.
Beyond the Box Score
- The Rams are now 5-3 against top-25 teams under Coach Smart and company.
- VCU has now taken down a top-25 in each of Coach Smart's four seasons at VCU.
- For the first time in school history, the Rams hit 13 or more three-pointers in back-to-back games.
- VCU is now shooting 55.3% from beyond the arc in the two games outside of the Siegel Center.
- The Rams have now record 14 or more steals in three of their four games this season.
Head Coach Shaka Smart:
- "I thought it was a great game. It reminded me of a NCAA Tournament game. Memphis obviously has a terrific team and I thought they showed a lot of toughness in the second half, battling back on us. They were much more aggressive against our press in the second half, but I do think that the overall style of play won out for us. Both teams got tired, but we are used to practicing that way, playing that way every day. I think that was the difference."
- "We knew Treveon was capable of nights like this tonight. We want him to be extra aggressive because when he is, he gets to the foul line and a tough match up at the 3 or 4. As for Rob, I'm proud of him, not just because he made shots. He let the game come to him and he took what was there."
- "This game tonight reminded me of March. These are the type of games that prepare you for March and if you win, it will help you make the tournament."
Sophomore Treveon Graham:
- "I wanted to come in aggressive, confident and loose just like coach told us before the game. I wanted to stay focused on playing my game and taking shots when I was open. Just wanted to stay aggressive all night."
COMING UP NEXT:
- VCU takes on fifth-ranked Duke in the second round of the Battle 4 Atlantis. Game time in Nassau is set for 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.