CHARLESTON, S.C. – For 20 minutes, the fans of VCU men's basketball saw just how good the new faces for the Rams could be. Unfortunately, the game is 40 minutes and the second half was what doomed the Black & Gold on Friday evening.
Seeking their fourth straight win against an ACC foe, the Rams held a lead for majority of the contest, but a 50-point second half by Georgia Tech proved too much as the Yellowjackets came away with a 73-60 victory in the second round of the DirecTV Charleston Classic.
"We've talked so much about committing to every play and really playing disciplined and I'm proud of the way we did that in the first half," Head Coach Shaka Smart said. "We just didn't do that in the second half and give credit to Georgia Tech for making us pay. Everyone in this program will learn from tonight and we'll focus on getting better for the next time we step on the court."
Senior Bradford Burgess led the way for the second straight game for the Rams, scoring 17 points and grabbing five rebounds. Junior Troy Daniels (pictured, left) came off the bench to chip in 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting, along with four rebounds.
Glen Rice, Jr. led five Yellowjackets in double-scoring with 19 points, 15 of which came in the second half. Brandon Reed had 13 points and six rebounds, while Daniel Miller added 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks for Georgia Tech.
"We do all these things in practice every day and talk about executing the formula, but we have to focus on it for 40 minutes," Daniels said. "We can't expect to get away with only playing half the game. If we're going to win, we have to go get it, we can't wait for teams to give it to us, but that won't happen."
The Yellowjackets came out of the gates firing and quickly found themselves with an 8-2 lead after a jumper from Pierre Jordan with 15:27 to play. Enter HAVOC.
Over the next seven minutes, VCU would force seven turnovers and connected on four three-pointers en route to a 21-3 run, which gave the Black & Gold a 23-10 cushion with 8:22 remaining in the first half. Georgia Tech would chip away at the lead before Burgess drilled a three-pointer with under a minute to play and send VCU into the locker room with a 31-23 lead.
The teams traded baskets to start the second half, but Rice, Jr. scored eight straight points to ignite a 20-4 spurt that gave the Yellowjackets a 51-42 advantage.
Georgia Tech would push their lead to as much as 13 before Burgess and Daniels hit back-to-back three-pointers, but that would be as close as they got as the Ramblin' Wreck held on to secure the 73-60 victory.
VCU forced 16 Georgia Tech turnovers and held them to just 29.4 percent from beyond the arc, but a 61.3 percent shooting effort from the field in the second half was too much for the Rams to overcome.
The Black & Gold will now take on Western Kentucky on Sunday afternoon at 12 p.m. in their final game of the 2011 Charleston Classic.