GAME NOTES: The Virginia Commonwealth Rams and Boston College Eagles are on opposite ends of the college basketball spectrum as they face each other at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival.
VCU has won six of its last seven contests, including a 30-point blowout of Virginia Tech at the 2013 Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic on Dec. 21. The Rams are one of four teams already with double-digit wins in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Boston College, on the other hand, has struggled this season to a 4-8 record, including losses in four of the team's last five games. The Eagles began the season with three straight in the loss column before winning three of four games. The most recent contest for the Eagles was a 77-67 setback at Auburn.
This is the first time Boston College and VCU will meet on the hardwood. As part of the Holiday Hoops Festival in Brooklyn, this matchup will be the final of three games at the Barclays Center.
Against Auburn on Dec. 22, Boston College seemed outmatched, especially when the Tigers scored nine unanswered points to end the first half up 37-24. Auburn then came out in the second half and scored another seven unanswered points until the Eagles finally rattled off their own seven in a row to ease the lopsided score a bit. Boston College pulled to within 61-53 in the second half before running out of gas. Sophomore Olivier Hanlon scored 28 points in the loss, netting 20 in the second half.
Hanlon is by far the leading scorer on the Eagles, at a 20.1 points per game clip to go along with an outstanding 85 percent average from the free-throw line. He ranks 31st in the nation in scoring. Junior Ryan Anderson is second on the team at 16.4 points per game. A glaring stat though is his 27 percent average from 3-point range. He also leads the team in rebounding, at 7.1 rebounds per game.
A couple of early 3-pointers set VCU back in the game against Virginia Tech early, but the Rams weren't phased by the deficit. Sophomore Melvin Johnson in particular kept his cool as he went on to set a career-high in 3-pointers made with eight in the win. In the first half, the Rams reached a 31-0 run against the Hokies. Johnson led the team in scoring with 27 points on 8-of-13 shooting. The Rams recorded a school-record 22 steals against Virginia Tech, which turned the ball over 27 times in the contest.
Junior guard Treveon Graham leads the Rams in scoring with a 15.6 points per game average on 45 percent shooting from the field. He's also second on the team in rebounds per game (6.5) and assists per game (1.8). Senior forward Juvonte Reddic leads the team with 7.5 rebounds per game, and now has five double-doubles on the year after the matchup with Virginia Tech.
The Rams outscored the Hokies 42-5 on points off turnovers, and will look to do the same against the Eagles, who average 11.8 turnovers per game.
The Sports Network predicted outcome: VCU 74, Boston College 64
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