In the first meeting between the two programs since the 1998-99 season, VCU edged Virginia by the final score of 59-56 thanks to a three-pointer from Treveon Graham with just over one second remaining. Graham’s shot capped a 10-1 VCU run over the final 2:44, and the space needed to release the game-winner came on a failed switch by Virginia.
Graham finished with a game-high 22 points, and for as successful as Shaka Smart’s program has proven to be when able to ramp up the tempo, Tuesday’s result is critical because of how the Rams were able to win. Last season VCU won just one game when scoring 60 points or less, so their ability to do so in Charlottesville bodes well for the Rams down the line.
Joe Harris led Virginia with 18 points and Malcolm Brogdon added ten, with the Cavaliers nearly winning despite turning the ball over 19 times on the night. That figure could be seen as a product of two issues: the handling of VCU’s “HAVOC” defense, and the fact that Tony Bennett’s team is adjusting to life without point guard Jontel Evans.
Brogdon and freshman London Perrantes are seen as two possibilities at the point, and they finished with a combined three assists and eight turnovers. Virginia has the talent needed to be a factor in the ACC, but how well the Cavaliers perform will depend upon the development of their lead guards. With that being the case, taking on a team the caliber of VCU at this stage in the season can only help Virginia.