March 2, 2013

VCU Races Past Butler

RICHMOND, VA. -- Host VCU unleashed the full force of its full-court pressure defense and added a lethal long-range attack to race past Butler, 84-52, in a nationally-televised Atlantic 10 Conference game on Saturday, March 2.  The 32-point loss was Butler's biggest margin of defeat in nearly two decades.

The Rams (23-6, 11-3 A-10), playing in front of a boisterous sellout crowd of 7,693 at the Siegel Center, forced Butler into a season-high 23 miscues and out-scored the Bulldogs, 34-2, on points off turnovers.  VCU also nailed 10 three-point field goals, out-scoring the Bulldogs, 30-9, from beyond the three-point arc.

"It was a good, old-fashioned butt-kicking," said Butler head coach Brad Stevens after the game.  "We can over-analyze it all we want, but the bottom line is we couldn't do anything well."  

"Certainly, we didn't handle the ball very well," added the Butler coach.  "That has a lot more to do with their personnel.  They're obviously fast, and that team is as deep as any team we play from an athleticism standpoint.  And then we didn't get stops, and if you don't get stops, you're going to be playing against that the whole time."

Butler (22-7, 9-5 A-10) scored the first basket of the game, and then VCU ran off nine unanswered points to go in front for good.  The Bulldogs never got closer than five points the rest of the way, and VCU quickly stretched its margin to double-figures.

The Rams, behind the long-range shooting of guard Troy Daniels, led by 24 points at halftime, 45-21.  Daniels scored 14 first-half points, including three of six shooting from beyond the three-point arc.  VCU's pressure defense forced Butler into 14 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.

"You know what you need to do, and you can do it on a blueprint.  You can map it out.  But at the end of the day, nobody's going to be able to simulate their speed," said Stevens of the VCU defense.  "To beat that team you're going to have to get stops.  Nobody's going to beat them when they're scoring, because they're just going to force you to play they way they want to play."

Butler did open the second half with second consecutive points, five by Chase Stigall and two by Roosevelt Jones, to cut VCU's lead to 45-28.  But VCU's Briante Weber answered with five straight points of his own to push the margin to 22 points, and the Bulldogs never got closer than 20 points the rest of the way.

Four VCU players scored in double-figures, led by Daniels with 20.  The VCU guard hit four three-point field goals and added six free throws after being fouled on three-point attempts.  Juvonte Reddic, Treveon Graham and Weber each added 11 points.

Jones led the Bulldogs with 14 points, while forward Khyle Marshall added 13.  Sophomore Kameron Woods came off the bench with 10 rebounds to lead both teams.

VCU shot 48.3% for the game, including 43.5% from the three-point line, and the Rams added 17 steals.

The loss was Butler's first by more than 30 points since January of 1994, when the Bulldogs fell to nationally-ranked North Carolina, 104-64.

Butler will close out its regular season this week with a pair of A-10 games.  The Bulldogs will visit Massachusetts on Thursday, March 7, before finishing its slate at home against Xavier on Saturday, March 9.