VCU Dismantles Cincinnati in 68-47 Rout

The Basics

  • Score: VCU 68, Cincinnati 47
  • Records: VCU (8-3), Cincinnati (7-3)
  • Location: Fifth Third Arena – Cincinnati, Ohio
  • The Short Story: Thanks in large part to a season-high 15 three-pointers, VCU left Cincinnati with its eighth win of the season, a 68-47 victory over the Bearcats. Junior Melvin Johnson led all scorers with 18 points, all in the second half. UC's 47 points are the fewest by a VCU opponent all season.

How It Happened

  • The Bearcats did not come out shooting the ball well at all in the first half, shooting 25 percent and making just one of nine 3-point attempts in the first 20 minutes, and VCU took full advantage of that. The Rams came out firing, launching 18 threes in the first half and connecting on eight of them, while shooting 40 percent from the field.
  • Though VCU held the lead for the entire game, that lead first began to grow to double digits towards the end of the half thanks to Cincinnati missing 10 of their last 12 shots of the half. Entering halftime, the Rams held a 34-21 advantage.
  • Picking up where they left off, the Rams started the second half on a 7-0 run that ballooned their lead to 20 points. Five of Johnson's 18 second half points came during that run; he really seemed to find his shooting touch during that stretch.
  • Their lead reached a high of 26 in the waning moments of the second half and when the horn sounded VCU ended up with a 21-point victory, 68-47.
  • In all, three Rams scored in double figures: Johnson (18), Treveon Graham (12) and Jordan Burgess (11). 
Beyond The Box Score
  • The Rams were 15-of-31 from three in the game. Those 15 threes match VCU's season-high, set Nov. 20 in a 106-66 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore.
  • VCU allowed just 21 points in the first half, tied for the fewest first half points for a VCU opponent this season. Belmont scored 21 points in the first half of their game against the Rams this past week.
  • Under head coach Shaka Smart, the Rams are now 41-6 in the month of December.
  • Weber moved up two spots to 14th all-time in career steals after recording three takeaways today; he now has 335 in his career.
  • Entering today's game, VCU was forcing turnovers on 25 percent of its opponents' possessions. Today was no different, as VCU forced turnovers in 15 of Cincinnati's 60 possessions.

Quotes

Shaka Smart:

  • "I thought defensively it was the best we have played, but first and foremost, I do want to say that our thoughts and prayers are with Mick Cronin. He is a guy that obviously sets the personality for his team, so it was a tough situation for them without him. We wish him a very, very speedy recovery. I thought our guys did a good job being aggressive, which is what we ask them to do. We knew that Cincinnati is a team that is very capable of getting after you and getting you on your heels at both ends of the floor. I thought our guys attacked well."
  • "We always want to get [Melvin Johnson] the ball because he is a very gifted offensive player. The change was in his mentality. In the first half, I think he was pressing it a little bit. He really, really wanted the ball to go in for himself because he was coming off some rough shooting games. We told him at halftime to stay with it and keep a good mentality because the next one is going in."
  • "I told the guys in the locker room after the game that this is what you have to do on the road in conference play. You have to be able to come in and handle a good atmosphere and a really talented team. Again, I thought our guys did a good job being aggressive, which is what you have to do on the road."

Melvin Johnson:

  • "Coach mentioned to me that the shots I took in the first half went in and out, and they were good ones. So he just kept telling me to worry about the process and worry about the other guys. I made two open shots that got me going, and from that point on, he [Shaka Smart] gave me a smile and told me to keep shooting."
  • "[Cincinnati] is one of the hardest playing teams in America, and they are well coached, just like us. We knew it was going to be a fight going in. We knew how physical they are on the boards. Our little guys had to step up and punish them in scramble situations."

Up Next

  • VCU will round out this calendar year with two home matchups: one against East Tennessee State on Monday, December 22 and one on Monday, December 29 against Cleveland State. Both games will begin at 7 PM.