NCAA BK

Redbirds swamped in 96-58 loss to No. 14 VCU

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP)

Even with an almost entirely new roster, Illinois State coach Dan Muller seemed stunned.

The Redbirds, who have beaten a ranked team in each of the past two seasons, had no shot almost from the outset at No. 14 VCU on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.

The Rams took command with an early 33-7 run, the Redbirds missed 15 of their first 16 shots and were sloppy all night.

''A nice welcome to college basketball for my new guys,'' Muller said. ''We've got a long way to go.''

Illinois State arrived at the Seigel Center with 10 new players and only two with any Division I experience, and looked very much like a team still getting familiar with each other. The Redbirds even committed a 10-second violation on their first possession.

''There wasn't much that we did correctly execution-wise,'' Mullen said, emphasizing his team's need to learn from it.

''We'll find out as the season goes along what this game does for us.''

VCU had no such trouble.

Transfer Terrance Shannon and Treveon Graham scored 14 points each and Juvonte Reddic had 13 points and eight rebounds as the Rams, ranked to start the season for the first time in program history, rolled before their 36th consecutive sellout.

VCU led 9-4 when Reddic started the suspense-ending blitz with a dunk off a feed from Rob Brandenburg. The burst included two more baskets from Reddic, and 3-pointers from five Rams, including three in a span of 47 seconds by Melvin Johnson.

Zach Lofton led Illinois State with 12 points, and Paris Lee had nine points and nine turnovers.

VCU gave the crowd plenty more to cheer about right from the start. Reddic's dunk started the big run, and Graham scored on a putback and a 3-pointer. Two more baskets by Reddic followed, and then 3-pointers from freshman Doug Brooks and Briante Weber before Johnson hit three straight 3s to make it 35-8.

Shannon, a 6-foot-8 transfer from Florida State, had an immediate impact. He was fouled early on, making 1 of 2 free throws, then scored on a putback. Moments later he fed Reddic for one of two consecutive dunks and later blocked a shot.

VCU hit 7 of 11 3-point shots before intermission; the Redbirds were 6 for 29 from the field.

Illinois State, in its second season under Muller, lost four players to graduation after last season, had four transfer and one dismissed from the program. Their new players include five junior college transfers and three freshmen.

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Follow Hank on twitter at: http://twitter.com/hankkurzjr

Tagged: Illinois, Virginia Commonwealth, Illinois State, Juvonte Reddic

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