The Tribe showed signs of greatness Thursday night, but struggled with consistency — a story all too familiar for the College this season.
With the opportunity to defeat a dominant VCU team and get back on track after a four-game losing streak, the Tribe lost its composure when it mattered most.
Trailing by only six at halftime, the Tribe came out and made a statement in the second half. It seemed the team had forgot about its inexperience or lack of size when it stood up to a powerful Ram squad. An 8-0 run midway through the second, which included three-pointers from senior forward Dani Kell and junior guard Kelly Heath along with five offensive rebounds certainly made me a believer.
But much like recent games against Hoftstra, ODU, and Northeastern, it was too good to be true.
Maybe it is the incredible competition in the CAA — a conference some coaches are calling the toughest in years — causing the Tribe’s recent struggles. Heading into this game, nine of the 12 league teams were within three games of first place.
A glance at tonight’s stat sheet reveals a field goal percentage differential of less than two percent and a pretty close rebounding race. While turnovers and fouls appear to have hurt the Tribe, the timing was devastating.
Every time the Tribe scored, VCU answered back. Following the 8-0 run, the College picked up a pair of fouls that helped the Rams to a 13-3 surge of their own.
In the first half a 5-0 run, which pulled the Tribe within one, ended with a foul and a turnover to allow a 7-0 VCU spurt.
Despite a 19-point game from Benson, the young Tribe lacked the composure to slow the game down and look for easy buckets when things were going wrong.
In a game full of momentum swings, the College seemed to pick up turnovers and fouls at the most inopportune times.
The offense was at times powerful, but was not consistent.
The Tribe may only be losing close contests, but something has changed in its game. The College has played in tight games all season, but had managed to swing them in its favor in the past. In fact, before its five-game losing streak, the College had won three consecutive games by six points or less.
Maybe it is inconsistency or some other intangible, but the results are devastating.