By Cassandra S. Price Associate Athletic Director for Sports Communications Virginia State
U.S. Virgin Islands – The Virginia State Men’s Basketball team blew past Edward Waters (Fla.) en route to a 93-70 victory in the Quarterfinals of the YES! U.S. Virgin Island Classic. Dajour Rucker scored a career-high 16 points while Terrence Hunter-Whitfield led the game with a season-high 26 points. The switchblade in Francis “BJ” Fitzgerald continues to do whatever the team needs him to do as he recorded his sixth double-double of the season. The squad will take on Tusculum in the Semifinals on Sunday, January 1 at approximately 10:15 a.m.
At the Half
The Trojans did almost all of their work inside the paint going 18-of-31 (58.1%) while holding the Tigers to just 10-of-25 (40%). Despite the Trojans going 0-of-5 (0%) from downtown, they allowed Edward Waters (Fla.) to shoot themselves out of the game going just 5-of-17 (29.4%). The Trojans were also able to outrebound the Tigers a whopping 22-10 including seven offensive rebounds. Terrence Hunter-Whitfield led the game with 16 points shooting 7-of-8 (87.5%) from the field. Francis “BJ” Fitzgerald ended his half with a game-high six rebounds while Zach Newkirk contributed a game-high three assists.
The Trojans had trouble keeping some of their possessions alive committing 12 turnovers in the game but they were able to make it up with 10 steals of their own which turned into 18 points off turnovers. The Trojans ended winning the rebound battle 36-22 which led to 16 second chance points. The Trojans dominated the paint the entire game scoring 58 points in the painted area while shooting 37-of-62 (59.7%) from the field. They were able to find their stroke from beyond the arc in the second half shooting 3-of-6 (50%) from deep which led to the sqaud shooting 3-of-11 (27.3%) for the game. The Trojans saw great production from the bench scoring 24 points in the win. The Trojans shot just 6-of-13 (46.2%) from the foul line while allowing the Tigers to shoot 18-of-23 (78.3%). The Trojans took the lead with 15:15 left in the first half and did not look back.
Terrence Hunter-Whitfield scored a season and game-high 26 points shooting 12-of-14 (85.7%) from the field along with three rebounds and a steal. This marks the fifth 20-point game of the season for Hunter-Whitfield. Dajour Rucker scored a career-high 16 points in the win shooting 7-of-9 (77.8%) from the field and 1-of-2 (50%) from beyond the three-point arc along with four rebounds. Francis “BJ” Fitzgerald recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Fitzgerald shot 5-of-11 (45%) from the field and dished three assists with a game-high three steals in the contest. Tremere Brown continues to show his consistency after accounting for exactly 10 points for the fifth time this season. Brown shot 5-of-8 (62.5%) from the field along with four rebounds and a steal in the win. Zach Newkirk earned a game-high six assists along with six points and six rebounds. Elijah Johnson scored his first career points in the win as well.
The Trojans will take on Tusculum in the Semifinals of the YES! U.S. Virgin Island Classic. The matchup is set for Sunday, January 1 at 10:15 a.m. est.