It took senior Troy Daniels 39 minutes and 46 seconds into Thursday night’s game to make a basket.
Most would have said he had a poor night in VCU’s overtime win over the Saint Joseph’s Hawks, and all one would have to do is look at his stat sheet to see why.
Daniels shot 1-10 from the floor, 1-9 beyond the arc. In addition, he added only two rebounds, one steal and one assist while picking up three fouls in 31 minutes played, tied for his most time on the court of the season.
But let’s ignore his stats for this game and really look at his performance. He was engulfed by a Saint Joseph’s player each time he had the ball and they made sure of it on every play.
“They showed a lot of attention to Troy and his man never hopped off him one time,” said senior Darius Theus.
When he started missing more and more shots, Coach Shaka Smart began rotating sophomore Briante Weber into the game more.
It wasn’t until the Rams had squandered their second double-digit lead of the game and the Hawks kept it within a basket down the stretch. Saint Joseph’s took a four point lead with 28 seconds to go, and the crowd began filing out.
VCU drove down to court and the ball was dished out to Daniels who was 0-8 from range, but he was determined not to put up a goose egg on the night and brought the Rams within one with 14 seconds left.
“Troy’s a guy who unfortunately doesn’t have a lot of arrogance, so we’ve got to build him up and make him believe he’s the best, even if he misses 100 in a row,” said coach Smart. “But he stuck that one in the corner which obviously proved to be the difference maker.”
Theus and the rest of his teammates stood by Daniels all night and continued to give him chances. But when it came to that shot, none of them doubted it wouldn’t go in.
“He’s a senior, that’s what we expect him to do,” said Theus. “[If] he goes 0-for-20, he takes that shot any day for me, and I know [the team] feels the same way.”
Daniels’ 3-pointer put the Rams into a position to win, or at least take the game into overtime. With the Hawks up two with 13 seconds to play, the ball was in Theus’ hands and he drove to the basket with ease to tie it up and send it into overtime. Even on a play where it seemed like it was totally in Theus’ hands, he still credits its success to the positioning of Daniels and his other teammates.
“That’s just credit to how great of a shooter Troy is,” said Theus. “He sat in the corner and didn’t move and his man didn’t move either.”
Daniels’ three points tied for his season-low in a game, both of which came at home. Last time he scored three points was against Belmont.
His next game?
A 24 point explosion against Old Dominion where he went 8-13 from range. The Rams next game is on the road against Duquesne, maybe Daniels will bounce back again.