New Hampshire (6-5) at V-C-U (8-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, December 30th, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Verizon Wireless Arena (7,500) -- Richmond, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: New Hampshire 3-1, VCU 5-0. Away Record: New Hampshire 2-4, VCU 1-3. Neutral Record: New Hampshire 1-0, VCU 2-1. Conference Record: New Hampshire 0-0, VCU 1-0. Series Record: VCU leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: The New Hampshire Wildcats and the VCU Rams meet tonight in the championship game of the VCU Christmas Tournament at Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.
New Hampshire worked its way into the title game with a tight-fisted, 68-66, victory over Cornell in the tournament's opening round. The win not only moved the Wildcats above .500, but also halted a three game skid. It also marked the first neutral court victory for UNH this year.
The Rams have a distinct advantage as the home team in this particular tournament. They have yet to lose in Verizon Wireless Arena this season, posting a 5-0 record thus far. They used that advantage to dispatch Wofford, 75-66, in the opening round of the tournament.
This will be the fourth meeting between New Hampshire and VCU, with the Rams dominating the series to a 3-0 advantage thus far.
Cornell battled UNH tooth and nail, but a Ferg Myrick three-point play in the closing moments of the game sealed the Wildcats' victory. Myrick finished the game with a team-high 14 points. He also handed out five assists against zero turnovers. Myrick was joined in double figures by Tyrone Conley, who came off the bench to score 13 points, Brian Benson, who added 12 points and Chandler Rhoads, who finished with 10 points. The Wildcats played above expectations against Cornell, as they typically score just 59.5 ppg and shoot just 37.6 percent from the floor. Myric and Conley each average around 12 ppg for this mediocre offensive squad. The team is without leading scorer Alvin Abreu, who averages 14 ppg and will miss the rest of the season due to injury. UNH had a hard time generating points with Abreu in the lineup. Without him, the offense has been anemic.
A late run by VCU's efficient offense sealed a victory over Wofford in the tournament's opening round. The Rams closed out the Terriers with authority. For the game they shot 48.1 percent from the floor and an incredible 47.8 percent from the beyond the arc (11-of-23). They handed out 17 assists against 10 turnovers and shot 70 percent from the foul line. Brandon Rozzell paced the team with 18 points. He was supported by Bradford Burgess, who scored 13 points and Joey Rodriguez, who scored 10 points and dished out three assists. Rodriguez is the igniter for this offense, as he has dished out 58 assists against 28 turnovers and averages 10.8 ppg. The Rams score at an impressive 74.4 ppg on 45.6 percent shooting, while doling out 15.8 apg.
VCU has everything going for it in this game, including a distinct homecourt advantage and the luxury of playing an inferior offensive squad which happens to be lacking its best scorer. The Rams should win with relative ease.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: VCU 78, New Hampshire 63
12/30 10:29:53 ET