Gavin and Sanders help VCU upset No. 17 Oklahoma
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – When Jeff Capel left Virginia Commonwealth to become the head coach at Oklahoma four years ago, his contract mandated that he bring his new team back to Richmond to play the Rams.
Capel received a very warm welcome Saturday night, and then the Rams showed him that things are just fine without him.
Jay Gavin scored 20 points, Larry Sanders 17 and Virginia Commonwealth, which will play Nevada on Friday, never trailed in an 82-69 upset of No. 17 Oklahoma on Saturday night.
Gavin, a sophomore guard, wasn’t fazed by 18 professional scouts in the stands.
“I wasn’t really worried about it,” said Gavin. “Our intensity level was through the roof tonight. We concentrated on defense for 40 minutes.”
Leading by one early on, the Rams (2-1) used a 20-8 spurt to take control of the game. VCU hit six straight 3-pointers during the run, including two by Gavin.
“Congrats to VCU,” said Capel, who was 79-41 as the Rams’ coach. “They shot the heck out of the ball. We let our lack of making shots determine how the game went.
“I knew our team wasn’t as good as everyone had us. This was a great game for us. I didn’t like the result but we’ll grow from this game.”
Oklahoma cut its deficit to 31-22 with 8:08 left before going without a field goal for just over 6 minutes. VCU extended its advantage to 40-23 with 4:35 left on two free throws by T.J. Gwynn.
The Sooners (1-2) cut the lead to 10 at the half, but could get no closer in the second half. Oklahoma went through a drought in the second half hitting just two field goals over a 10:42 span before Tony Crocker’s 3-pointer made it 75-65 with 1:54 left.
The Rams missed only one free throw over the final 23 seconds to end any hopes of a Sooners rally.
Crocker led the Sooners with 19 points and Tiny Gallon added 15.
It marked the first ranked team to play in the Siegel Center, which opened in 1999.