Sophomore Rob Bradenberg Feed Off Of The Crowds Energy All Night And Finshed With 13 Points.
Written by Jesse Varner, Game Audio by Robby Robinson and Mike Ellis
In college basketball, much like life, if you’re ever knocked down the best thing to do is pick yourself up, work on your weaknesses, and get back out on the court. Friday night at the Siegel Center the VCU Rams (23-6, 13-3) erased any memory of heartbreak earlier in the week. In front of what was probably the most thunderous crowd the STU as seen all the season, the Rams dismantled the Panthers of Northern Iowa (17-12, 7-9) 77-68. In what has VCU’s 5th nationally televised game, the Rams were able to shut down the Panthers deep shooting game and get hot with their own. The game started off in NIU’s favor as Panther’s senior guard Johnny Moran hit back-to-back 3-balls. Sophomore center D.J. Haley would get involved and score the Ram’s first 3 points. Then senior Bradford Burgess would answer NIU’s shooting with back-to-back treys off his own, and would finish the first half with 13 points. NIU continued to be lights out from beyond the arc and would finish the first half 7 for 10 from there. VCU would go on 9-0 run towards the end of the half, and it was a back-and-forth dog fight as the lead changed 8 times with NIU holding a 44-42 lead at the end of the half.
The start of second half would pretty much dictate how the rest of the game would go. The Panther’s star freshman Seth Tuttle would draw a foul from D.J. Haley and hit one free throw. Then on VCU’s next possession junior guard Troy Daniels, who finished with 12 points, would tie the game at 45.
Junior Darius Theus Was All Over The Floor Finishing With 9 Points, 6 Assists, and 4 Steals.
The momentum would swing Northern Iowa’s way a little while, until a jumper by sophomore forward Juvonte Reddic would tie the game at 53. The lead would change another 3 times until sophomore guard Rob Bradenberg, who was feeding off the crowd’s energy all night, hit a trey that proved to be the game changer for the Rams.
Bradenberg would finish the game 5 for 7 with 13 points, and after his deep shot VCU would hold the lead the rest of the way. The floor general junior Darius Theus, who was relatively quiet the first half, would continue to the king of late game heroics. Northern Iowa would fight back to get the lead cut by 4, 66-62.Then a series that saw Theus hit a layup off of his own steal, would be followed up by one from NIU’s freshman guard Deon Mitchell, and then Theus would hit another layup that also drew the foul.
Theus would hit the And-1 and the Rams would grab the lead 71-64. Juvonte Reddic would carry the rest of the game for the Rams and got the STU rocking by scoring the last 6 points for VCU off of dunks to end the game 77-68 VCU.
Sophomore Juvonte Reddic Would Go On A Tear At The End Scoring The Rams Last 6 Points.
After the game Head Coach Shaka Smart said, “This was a fun game to coach, a fun game to watch, and just a great game to be a part of.” The Rams would hold NIU to a 2 for 7 performance from beyond the arc in the second half and HAVOC would force 12 steals in the game. NIU’s Mtchell would lead all scoring with 18, but the Rams would finish with 4 players scoring in double-digits. Next up for the Rams they will finish their home-and-home series with conference foe UNC-Wilmington (9-17, 5-11) Wednesday February 22nd at the Trask Coliseum.