Virginia Commonwealth (20-7) at Fordham (9-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 27, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rose Hill Gym (3,200) -- New York, New York. Television: CBSSS. Home Record: VCU 13-0, Fordham 7-5. Away Record: VCU 4-5, Fordham 2-11. Neutral Record: VCU 3-2, Fordham 0-0. Conference Record: VCU 8-4, Fordham 2-10. Series Record: Virginia Commonwealth leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Virginia Commonwealth Rams look to bounce back as they invade Rose Hill Gym for an Atlantic 10 Conference matchup against the Fordham Rams.
VCU heads to the Big Apple on their first losing streak of the campaign. Coach Shaka Smart's team suffered a 64-62 setback to Saint Louis before it was handed an 80-75 loss by Massachusetts last Friday. VCU now owns a 20-7 overall record, including an 8-4 A-10 ledger. In the loss to the Minutemen, Treveon Graham finished with 19 points and eight rebounds, Juvonte Reddic had 13 points and nine rebounds, Melvin Johnson chipped in 12 points and Rob Brandenberg notched 10.
Graham is averaging a team-best 20 ppg and 8.7 rpg over the span of the last three games for VCU. The junior forward is one of two players that rank in the top 15 in the A-10 in both scoring (15.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.5 rpg) in league games. Junior guard Briante Weber set a school record as he swiped his 100th steal of the season versus UMass. Weber is nine steals shy of becoming the A-10's single-season record holder. Coming into tonight's game, VCU is first in the A-10 in scoring (75.8 ppg) in conference games. Smart's Rams have knocked down an average of 7.5 shots from beyond the arc per tilt over their last 10 outings. They are attempting 9.8 more field goal attempts per game than their opposition and pace the nation in both forced turnovers per game (18.9) and steals per game (11.6).
This will be the third meeting in history between these programs. VCU won both previous encounters by a margin of 16 points. Reddic recorded a double-double in both meetings.
Fordham will be looking to end a four-game slide that was extended on Saturday with an 87-72 loss at Saint Joseph's. Coach Tom Pecora's team has lost 12 of its last 14 games and is in sole possession of last place in the A-10 race with a 2-10 league standing. Fordham could not keep up with the Hawks despite a strong showing by Bryan Smith who tallied 28 points on 6-of-11 shooting on the perimeter, but he was the only starter in double figures for the team. Reserve Jon Severe accounted for 12 points on only 4-of-13 shooting from the floor. Pecora's Rams registered a season-best 15 steals in the loss, led by four from Chris Whitehead.
Smith's outburst was somewhat unusual considering he is the team's fourth leading scorer at seven ppg. Severe is actually netting a team-best 18.8 ppg, while Branden Frazier (17.5 ppg, 4.3 apg) and Mandell Thomas (12.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg) also play vital roles. Fordham is being outscored by an average of six ppg and also records 1.4 less rpg that its opposition. As a team, it is shooting just under 40 percent from the floor and has tallied 389 points at the charity stripe compared to 442 by the opposition.
Fordham is catching VCU at a very bad time. Smart's team is not accustomed to losing and will come out focused for a better result. Fordham has shown it is not capable of overcoming VCU's Havoc defense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Commonwealth 80, Fordham 63
02/27 10:16:52 ET