WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Sophomore guard Rob Brandenberg came
off the bench to score 21 points and VCU withstood a late UNCW run to outlast the
Seahawks, 63-59, on Senior Night in Colonial Athletic Association men's
basketball action Wednesday night at Trask Coliseum.
The Rams climbed to 24-6, 14-3 in
conference action, and improved to 6-0 against the Seahawks under Head Coach
Shaka Smart. UNCW fell to 9-19 overall and 5-12 in the CAA with the loss in its
Sophomore forward Juvonte Reddic
supported Brandenberg with 14 points and a team high nine rebounds for VCU,
which snatched 14 steals and forced 19 Seahawk turnovers in the contest.
Junior forward Keith Rendleman
paced UNCW with a game-high 24 points and 10 boards, marking his 16th double
double of the campaign. Sophomore guard Tanner Milson added 11 points, while
freshman forward Cedrick Williams grabbed 11 boards.
VCU was leading by 10, 59-49,
with 4:13 remaining when UNCW clawed back into the contest on the back of
Rendleman. The Iron Station, N.C., native scored the Seahawks' final seven
points as part of a 10-1 run, pulling UNCW to within a point, 60-59, after he
completed a three-point play with 59 seconds remaining.
Junior guard Darius Theus was
sent to the charity stripe with 49 seconds left, making 1-of-2 to make the
score 61-59. But Brandenberg grabbed the offensive board off the missed free
throw and VCU was able to run the clock down to 14 seconds, when senior guard
Brandon Burgess missed a jumper.
UNCW drove down the court and
called time out with nine seconds remaining. But Brandenberg stole the ensuing
inbounds pass and converted both his free throws to put the game out of reach,
The teams struggled offensively
to begin the contest, with the score just 8-6 UNCW at the second media timeout
with 11:58 remaining in the half. The teams combined to shoot 6-of-23 from the
field and committed nine turnovers.
But at the 10:31 mark, sophomore
guard Donte Morales drained a trey to give UNCW the 13-11 advantage and spark a
9-2 Seahawk run. Freshman guard Adam Smith capped the run with a fast break
layup for his only two points at 8:23 to make the score 19-13 UNCW.
With the Seahawks still holding a
six-point lead, 24-18, VCU rattled off a 10-4 spurt to even the contest at 28-all.
Theus capped the run with back-to-back fast break buckets at 1:41 and 1:04 to
tie the score.
Milson then converted a deep
three to beat the shot clock with 28 seconds to go in the half and UNCW entered
halftime with a 31-28 advantage.
VCU came out hot in the second,
scoring six quick points to take a 34-31 lead off a free throw from sophomore
center D.J. Haley. But VCU could not pull away, and the teams battled back and
forth for the next 9:45, with neither squad holding more than a three point
With the score 44-43 VCU with
8:59 remaining, the Rams exploded for a 15-6 run, capped by a layup from
freshman guard Briante Weber at 4:23 to give VCU the 59-49 lead. UNCW then
turned on the jets for its closing run, but the game was just out of reach for
the upset-minded Seahawks.
Senior guards Trevor Deloach and
Cam Chambers were honored in a pregame ceremony before the players started in
their final game in front of the Seahawk faithful. Deloach notched one point
and three boards in 12 minutes of action, while Chambers played four minutes in
his first career start.
Both squads close out their regular
seasons Saturday before heading to the 2012 CAA Men's Basketball Championships,
March 2-5, in Richmond, Va. UNCW travels to Hofstra for a 4 p.m. bout with the
Pride, while VCU hosts George Mason at 6 p.m.
GAME NOTES: VCU has taken 11 of the past 12 matchups with UNCW and
leads the all-time series 25-17 ... The attendance was 3,514 for the regular
season home finale ... The Rams forced a combined 47 Seahawk turnovers in the two games with UNCW this season ... UNCW held VCU's leading scorer, senior guard Bradford Burgess, to five points on 1-of-12 shooting.