By Jakob Vaughan
VCU returned home to Richmond on Saturday afternoon, after facing defeat against UCF Friday night. The Rams’ season ended with a 58-73 first round NCAA tournament loss to UCF. UCF’s win over VCU gave them their first ever NCAA tournament victory. Tacko Fall led UCF to the win with 13 points, 18 rebounds and 5 blocks as UCF had a noticeable size advantage against VCU. VCU was throwing every game plan and defensive set up they could to guard 7’6” Tacko Fall, which included double coverage on inbound plays. VCU found themselves down early as the team was 0-9 from behind the arc and finished the first half allowing UCF to go on a 10-0 run. VCU shot 8 of 29 from the field going into halftime down 34-24. As the second half began VCU came out a different team from 3-point range going 6 of 11, after missing their first 13 3-pointers. VCU’s run came too late as the team dug themselves too deep of a hole to climb out and continue their NCAA tournament run. The main story of the game was VCU’s point guard Marcus Evans started the game, after suffering a left knee bone bruise the week before the NCAA tournament began, against Rhode Island.
VCU ended the 2018-2019 season with a 25-8 record and are now 13-17 all-time in their 17 NCAA tournament appearances. VCU will now move forward having improved their team from last season with a stronger defense that helped spark a 12-game winning streak, an Atlantic 10 regular season championship and an improved record compared to last year. Mike Rhoades enters his 3rd season at VCU and will be returning all, but two of his players from this year’s team that include Michael Gilmore and Xavier Jackson.
VCU Men’s Basketball 2018-2019 season was highlighted by beginning the season being predicted to finish 7th in the Atlantic-10 preseason poll. VCU won the regular season Atlantic-10 title by two games. VCU tied a school record for most conference wins with 16 this season and matched their school record of most regular-season wins with 25. VCU’s defense ranked second in Division I, defending the 3 ball. VCU in the regular season held opponents to 38.4% field-goal shooting, 27.6% from the 3-point line and 61.6 points per game. VCU had four players that averaged double digits: Marcus Evans 13.8 PPG, De’Riante Jenkins 11.4 PPG, Isaac Vann 10.9 PPG and Marcus Santos-Silva 10.1 PPG. There were two games during the season that stood out and implemented exactly what this years VCU basketball team was. The first game was the Rams traveling to George Mason, where VCU set a record for fewest points allowed in a game holding George Mason to 36 points on 24.5% shooting. The 23-0 run by VCU ended in a 35-5 run to close out the game, beating George Mason for the 6th time out of their last 7 matchups, 71-36. Rams 71 Patriots 36. The second game was Senior night, celebrating Rams’ seniors Mike Gilmore and Xavier Jackson. Senior night marked VCU’s 134th consecutive sellout game as they beat Saint Joseph’s 75-63 and extended their win streak to 12 games and finished the regular-season:
Overall record: 25-6
Atlantic 10 record: 16-2
Home record: 16-1
Away record: 8-4