Troy Daniels snaps out of shooting skid to propel VCU over ODU

Virginia Commonwealth needed someone to answer the ad for a slump-buster.

Troy Daniels applied in the second half and won the job hands down.

With Daniels nailing a trio of 3-pointers in a three-minute span, VCU took control with an 11-0 spurt and beat turnover-prone Old Dominion 61-48 in a Colonial Athletic Association showdown Saturday at the Siegel Center.

The 13th consecutive sellout crowd saw VCU’s active defense come up with 15 steals, ODU cough up 25 turnovers and Darius Theus score 12 of his 15 points in the second half as the Rams (15-5, 6-2) moved into a tie for second with the Monarchs (11-9, 6-2) and Drexel in the CAA. All three are a game behind George Mason (7-1).

Daniels, like many of the Rams, entered the game in a skid. The dangerous 3-point shooter was 7 for his past 30 and 5 for 23 from 3-point land.

He was 1-for-6 behind the arc before going off in the second half against ODU.

“Shout-out to my teammates,” said Daniels, one of several Rams who got in an extra shooting session Friday night. “Anyone on the team can step up at any given time. I was the guy tonight.”

Said Theus: “He makes one, you’ve got to get him the ball. He’s a great shooter. We believe every shot he takes is going in.”

The Rams had dropped to 33.9 percent from the floor in their past five games. They were able to recover after missing their first seven shots Saturday and finished at 38.2 percent, thanks to two key spurts.

The first came when VCU ran off nine consecutive points near the end of the first half to build a 32-25 halftime lead. Six of those points came from Rob Brandenberg, who entered the game lugging a 5-for-35 line.

Both sprees came without senior leader Bradford Burgess (two points), who played only 19 minutes because of foul trouble.

“It says the young guys are growing up,” VCU coach Shaka Smart said. “They’re playing better and better. They’re getting used to stepping up and asserting themselves.”

Burgess picked up his third foul less than 30 seconds into the second half. Juvonte Reddic picked up his third foul at the 14:46 mark.

With VCU’s two leading scorers on the bench and the Rams clinging to a 38-35 lead, little-used walk-on David Hinton entered the game and made a brief but big impact.

Hinton batted down a pass along the baseline from Kent Bazemore (15 points), the CAA’s preseason player of the year. Brandenberg grabbed the ball and started a break that ended with a Daniels 3-pointer.

“From there, we were locked and ready to go,” Hinton said.

Daniels canned another 3-pointer. Briante Weber followed up a miss, Daniels poured in another 3-pointer, and suddenly the Rams had a 49-35 bulge and the Siegel Center going nuts.

ODU, which went more than 10 minutes between baskets in the second half, never got closer than nine the rest of the way.

Weber and Brandenberg had four steals apiece.

“Havoc is all it is,” Theus said.

Read more about the Rams at TimesDispatch.com

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