City Sports Report

VCU creates absolute HAVOC

VCUSmart

It’s not an acronym. It is a philosophy. It’s a defensive attitude. It is fervent disruption; a flailing of arms and legs, jumping in passing lanes. It’s tipped passes and fast breaks. It’s noise, and lots of it.

“HAVOC” is exactly what the Rams wreaked in their Atlantic 10 semifinal matchup with the Davidson Wildcats beating them 93-73.

Treveon Graham and Mo Allie-Cox led the Rams with 18 points apiece. Alie-Cox was huge in the paint down low, often converting high-percentage baskets, or drawing enough contact from the Davidson bigs to get to the foul line. He shot 8-10 from the line.

“Going along, we saw Steve Zack get a lot in the paint, also,” Mo said of observing the success of La Salle’s star center getting in the paint against the Wildcats. “Coach just told me to go in there and attack them, they can’t guard me.”

They couldn’t. He was a nightmare in the paint, and Davidson got into foul trouble pretty quickly.

Davidson got off to a quick start with Tyler Kalinoski getting two quick baskets and two rebounds in less than two minutes of play. He finished with 19 points on 7-16 shooting. At the 12:36 mark, Davidson led by 16-4. It was their last big lead of the game as VCU would go on to complete a 40-12 run, leading 44-28 at the half.

It was sweet revenge for a Rams team that got blown out at Davidson only nine days ago, losing on national television 55-82.

“I think our guys have more of a steely resolve to keep playing and keep fighting,” VCU coach Shaka Smart said of the run. “Davidson is a team, if you’re just a half step off, defending their motion, they make you pay and they make you look really, really bad. And they did that to us nine days ago.”

VCU went up by as many as 19 in the second before Davidson began an incredible charge bringing the game to within five with 10:22 to play. That was as close as they would come.

Davidson exited the tournament in their first game at the Atlantic 10 Championships. It’s relatively new territory for them as they won the Southern Conference championships six out of the last ten years before joining the A10.

“The first thing is, you’re on a stage that’s incredible,” Davidson Coach Bob McKillop said of playing in a new conference tournament. “You feel like you are in a majestic theatre on Broadway. I mean, that’s the way we feel. I think that elevates your energy. It inspires you, tests you. It gives your players an experience that they will remember forever. This will be a cherished experience for our entire roster, our managers, our coaches. It’s a joyful experience to be part of this.”

As for VCU, this is their third year as members of the A10, and they will head to their third straight conference championship game, but they have not yet won.

“We are not dwelling on those two years,” Coach Smart said. “I’m sure everyone else will, but we’re in a moment’ we came up here to try to win four games. We just want to go 1-0 in our current game, and we did that today, and that’s our goal for tomorrow.”

VCU will play the Dayton Flyers in the Atlantic 10 Championship game.

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