Shuler scores 30, VCU upsets Maryland 85-76 in BB&T Classic
WASHINGTON (AP)—As the clock wound down, the giddy Virginia Commonwealth fans began chanting, “CAA! CAA!”
VCU registered another significant victory for the Colonial Athletic Association on Sunday night, using a career-high 30 point performance by Jamal Shuler to defeat Maryland 85-76 in the BB&T Classic.
Beating an Atlantic Coast Conference foe is nothing new for the Rams, who ousted Duke from the NCAA tournament last March.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to play the game no matter what league you’re from,” VCU coach Anthony Grant said. “When you look at the college game, you pretty much see it everywhere.”
Eric Maynor had 25 points and eight rebounds for the Rams (4-3), who took the lead for good midway through the second half. Shuler, a 6-foot-3 senior guard, went 10-for-19 from the floor, including 6-of-11 from 3-point range.
“That’s a pretty good combination,” Maryland coach Gary Williams conceded.
Greivis Vasquez scored 19 and Bambale Osby had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Maryland (5-3). The Terrapins outrebounded the Rams 40-30 and outscored them 30-24 at the foul line, but shot only 37 percent and committed 19 turnovers.
“Give VCU credit,” Williams said. “They played harder than we did and shot it better than we did. … Our execution wasn’t what it should be, and Virginia Commonwealth makes you pay.”
Maynor hit a 3-pointer to give VCU a 69-61 lead with 3:56 remaining. Maryland got within five points on four occasions, but the Rams scored their final 14 points at the free-throw line.
It was stunning setback for the Terrapins, especially because it came on the heels of a solid win over Illinois in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
“Hopefully we learned that you can’t relax nowadays in college basketball,” Williams said.
The Terrapins led 39-38 before Maynor scored seven points around a basket by Vasquez to put the Rams up 45-41. After an exchange of field goals, Eric Hayes hit a 3-pointer and Landon Milbourne made two foul shots to spark a 9-2 run that gave the Terrapins a 52-49 lead.
But VCU came back with seven straight points, including five by reserve Joey Rodriguez, and a 3-pointer by Shuler gave him a new career high and put the Rams ahead 60-54 with 8:13 to go.
Shuler scored 19 points on 7-for-9 shooting, and VCU overcame a 17-9 rebounding deficit to reach halftime tied at 34.
Coming off a 21-turnover performance in a loss to Hampton, the Rams gave away the ball seven times in the opening 12 minutes. But they forced 10 turnovers over that span, and used a dunk by Kirill Pishchalnikov to take a 19-15 lead.
Freshman Cliff Tucker scored five points in a 9-3 spurt that put Maryland back on top, but the Terrapins made too many ball-handling mistakes to extend the margin.
The first half featured 11 ties and seven lead changes.