Men’s basketball notebook: VCU, Wichita St. ends in controversy

Troy Daniels twisted his ankle late in the second half against Wichita State Tuesday night. (Photo by Chris Conway)

Jim Swing
Sports Editor

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VCU and Wichita State have always had a flare for the dramatics and Tuesday night’s game was no different.

With the game tied, Malcolm Armstead hit the go-ahead jumper for the Shockers leaving 3.8 seconds on the clock for the Rams to let fly a final shot.

Treveon Graham tossed a Hail Mary pass to Juvonte Reddic, who received the ball near midcourt and drove to the basket before getting fouled by Wichita State’s Carl Hall.

Reddic’s bid for a game-tying layup with five-tenths of a second left on the clock clanked off the backboard then appeared to hit off the front of the rim bouncing inward toward the basket before being swiped away by Cleanthony Early. A whistle was blown, but the entire VCU bench wanted a goaltending call that would’ve tied the game and given Reddic a chance for the win.

“They said it’s not reviewable,” VCU head coach Shaka Smart said. “Games like this don’t come down to one play. Was it goaltending? I’ll have to look back at the tape.”

Reddic needed both free throws to tie the game and send it to overtime, but missed the first before failing to hit the rim while trying to miss on purpose on his second shot.

In 2011, the Shockers were on the brunt end of a controversial foul call when VCU’s Joey Rodriguez drove in the final seconds down by one and threw up a shot that missed badly. Wichita State’s Joe Ragland was called for a foul with eight-tenths of a second remaining that allowed Rodriguez to hit two free throws and seal a win.

DANIELS EXPECTED TO SHAKE OFF INJURY

VCU sharpshooter Troy Daniels took a spill in the second half when he went after a loose ball and landed on teammate Briante Weber’s foot, twisting his right ankle.

Daniels twisted back and forth in pain on the floor before finally being helped off by trainer Eddie Benion and strength and conditioning coach Daniel Roose. Daniels didn’t put any weight on his right ankle when he was being helped off the floor and taken back to the locker room.

“I would guess that he’ll miss a little bit of practice, but Troy’s a tough kid, he’ll be back relatively soon,” Smart said. “I don’t know if that’s Saturday or next week.”

VCU point guard Darius Theus offered an even more confident take on Daniels’ status offering simply, “He’s fine.”

Daniels shot 2-of-5 from the floor with six points, six rebounds and two steals in 31 minutes of play.

CONTINUING THE RIVALRY?

VCU and Wichita State have never been members of the same conference but they’ve managed to cross paths three times in the past three seasons.

In 2011 the Rams edged the Shockers in an ESPN BracketBusters game that came down to Rodriguez’s pair of free throws.

A year later, the two teams were paired together again in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where a Darius Theus floater in the final seconds lifted VCU to a nail-biting win over Wichita State.

All three games have been decided by three points or less, which beckons the question: Why not continue this ongoing rivalry?

“It’s something Shaka and I can discuss,” Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall said. “I told someone it’s not a rivalry until we win one, so maybe now it’s something we can continue.”

Said Smart: “It’s not really something that we’ve thought about.”

The two teams are not scheduled to play each other any time in the near future, but if the two coaches were to agree on a home-and-home series, it would likely begin at Wichita State.

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