Recap: VA Commonwealth vs. Illinois State
Richmond, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Terrance Shannon and Treveon Graham each scored 14 points as 14th-ranked VCU tipped off its season with a 96-58 drubbing of Illinois State at Verizon Wireless Arena at the Siegel Center.
Both Shannon and Juvonte Reddic, who finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, shot 6-of-8 from the field to help the Rams justify their first-ever preseason national ranking.
VCU (1-0) shot a scorching 69 percent from the floor in building a commanding 52-32 halftime lead against the rebuilding Redbirds, who lost all five starters from last season's 18-15 squad.
The Rams dominated on the defensive end as well, forcing 22 turnovers and limiting Illinois State (0-1) to a 4-of-23 performance from 3-point range. The Redbirds made good on just 31.7 of their field goal tries for the game.
Zach Lofton paced Illinois State with 12 points.
VCU's next test figures to be a bit more challenging, when the Rams travel to Charlottesville for an in-state clash with No. 24 Virginia on Tuesday.
The Rams put this one away early, opening the contest on a 9-2 run and knocking down seven of their first 10 shot attempts in building a comfortable 20-4 advantage eight minutes in. Reddic accounted for 10 of those points on a 5-of-6 success rate.
Illinois State, on the other hand, misfired on 15-of-16 field goal tries before Jamaal Samuel hit a 3-pointer with 7:18 left in the half. The basket ended a 12-0 VCU run, capped by three consecutive triples from Melvin Johnson, that extended the margin to 35-8.
The Rams kept up the offensive onslaught, with the lead swelling to 48-12 on Shannon's tip-in 3:10 prior to the intermission. The Redbirds managed to close out the half on a 10-4 surge, but still trailed by 30 points at the break.
Illinois State never threatened in the second half as well, with VCU taking its largest differential of the night at 94-50 courtesy of a pair of Graham layups, the last coming with 5:18 left to play.Game Notes
The Rams have won four of the five lifetime meetings between the schools. The
last occurred in Richmond in December of 1995, with current ISU head coach Dan
Muller scoring a game-high 19 points for the Redbirds ... VCU has now
prevailed in 11 straight home openers and owns a 14-1 all-time mark in such
games at the Siegel Center ... Rob Brandenburg added 12 points for VCU and
Johnson ended with 11. The Rams are 34-2 when Brandenburg has scored 11 points
or more during his career, including a 17-0 mark last season.