VCU fans brought their A-game tonight. The creativity with the signs as well as a group of guys coming dressed in FBI uniforms, sitting right beside the bench. LSU senior Skylar Mays said, “I have been in college for four years and this is the most hostile place I have played” LSU Coach Will Wade reiterated that when asked about how the crowd was, he replied, “They get an A+”
The VCU team took that energy from the crowd and channeled it into their defense, causing LSU to commit 26 turnovers, 14 of which came in the second half. Will Wade said, “Mike (Rhodes) has done an excellent job creating a hybrid of the press we ran when we were both assistants. Then, we gave up a ton of layup, it killed us. Here, he still applies that pressure, but his teams don’t give up the layups.”
The balance was there for VCU as they finished with five players in double figures and nine players scoring, overall. They also had 10 players who logged 13 or minutes in the game.
VCU was also able to take advantage of LSU’s short bench, and their rotation of basically seven players, Coach Mike Rhodes said, “It’s a cumulative effect. Keeping coming at them the entire game, and hopefully, with 3 or 4 minutes left, they have nothing in the take. Our guys kept coming.”
At the end of the day, LSU shot 52% from the field and 41% from 3. They also outrebounded VCU 39 to 32, but you keep coming back to those 26 turnovers, where VCU was able to score 37 points off turnovers.
Skylar Mays Did All He Could
While he is vertically explosive, Mays game is predicated on craft. His change of pace is what gets him into the paint, and he has the strength and that vertical explosion to make things happen. He was an unstoppable force on the floor for LSU tonight, however down the stretch you can see the 37:45 minutes he played in the game wore on him. A valiant effort for the young man.
Marcos Santos Silva Is a Warrior
In the post-game presser, both coaches praised Santos-Silva non-stop for his efforts. Rhodes called him the hardest worker on the team and Wade said his team had no answer for him tonight. Santos-Silva finished the night with 17 points (8-13 FG) and 11 boards. Every time VCU needed a bucket they were able to dump it down to him and he produced.
The Depth of VCU Was a Factor
VCU had 5 guys in double figures, while 10 guys played 13 or more minutes in the game. This was huge as LSU was dealing with some injuries and carried a short bench, which is something both coaches mentioned in the post-game. 14 second-half turnovers for LSU can attest to having no legs. Even though LSU won the second half, 44-34, VCU was fresh at the end, as they were running guys at them and LSU just ran out of gas.