|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET12:00 PM GMT8:00 PM 北京时间5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST, Nov 23, 2019
Stuart Siegel Center, Richmond, Virginia Attendance: 7,637
No. 21 VCU looks to keep perfect run going vs. FGCU
The VCU Rams, ranked in the Top 25 for the first year since 2015, will play host to the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles on Saturday night.
VCU, which opened the season ranked No. 25 due in part to returning eight of its top nine scorers from last season, is off to a 4-0 start. The Rams are up to No. 21 this week thanks in large part to their 84-82 home win over then-No. 23 LSU on Nov. 13.
The Rams forced 26 turnovers and turned them into 37 points against the Tigers. VCU has won 15 straight home games, often using a frenetic press to force mistakes.
"You can't simulate what they do," LSU coach Will Wade -- who was head coach at VCU from 2015-17 - told reporters of the Rams' defense after the game. "And they do it every night."
Florida Gulf Coast (1-4) will also have to deal with VCU's loud and wacky fans, who have shown up night after night, producing 138 consecutive home sellouts.
The Eagles, who gained national fame as the team known as "Dunk City" for its high-flying upsets of Georgetown and San Diego State in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, finished 14-18 last season.
Florida Gulf Coast returns only four players who got playing time in 2018-19, though two are starters: 6-foot-6 senior guard Christian Carlyle and 6-4 sophomore guard Zach Scott.
But Carlyle, who averaged 8.1 points last season and was ranked as one of the Atlantic Sun Conference's top 10 returners, suffered a season-ending injury this summer.
So the fact the Eagles lost four straight to open the season should not come as much of a surprise, though they prevented the streak from reaching five when they rallied from a 19-point second-half deficit to beat Florida Atlantic 72-70 in overtime Wednesday.
Junior guard Jalen Warren, one of nine newcomers on the Eagles roster, drove the length of the floor and drained a high-arching shot from the foul line that fell through as time expired.
"This was as good a win -- in terms of pride in the program -- since I've been with FGCU," said second-year coach Michael Fly, who had served as an Eagles assistant before taking the top job in 2018. "I can't recall coming back from that many points."
Warren, a junior-college transfer, finished with 21 points, including a jumper with 11 seconds left that had given the Eagles a 70-68 lead.
Scott leads Florida Gulf Coast with 15.6 points per game. Returning guard Caleb Catto is averaging 12.6 points, and Warren is averaging 10.2 points.
The Rams, who finished 25-8 and made the NCAA Tournament last season, will test all of those Eagles players.
VCU, which won the 2019 Atlantic 10 regular-season title, is led by third-year coach Mike Rhoades and four returning starters: 6-2 senior point guard Marcus Evans, 6-5 senior shooting guard De'Riante Jenkins, 6-6 senior forward Isaac Vann and 6-7, 250-pound junior center Marcus Santos-Silva.
Evans, who has overcome two ACL injuries, is a first-team all-league player. Jenkins, a third-team all-league player, uses his length to spark a defense that ranked in the top 10 nationally in several categories last season.
Santos-Silva, who had the first 20 points-20 rebounds game in Atlantic 10 Tournament history last season, is a handful.
Just ask Wade, who said of Santos-Silva: "We didn't have an answer for him down low."
Rhoades, meanwhile, communicated after the LSU game what he expects from his players.
"Sometimes you have to put your guts on the floor," Rhoades said. "You have to make plays, figure it out (and) find a way."
--Field Level Media
Updated November 22, 2019