VSU captures Freedom Classic
Trojans win annual meeting with Panthers for first time in 11 years
VIRGINIA STATE 70,VIRGINIA UNION 65
Posted: Monday, January 21, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 12:16 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.
BY CHRIS HARRIS Richmond Times-DispatchThere was no dramatics. The streak just ended.
After 23 straight games, Virginia State finally changed its luck by beating Virginia Union 70-65 Sunday night in the Freedom Classic.
“This is a very emotional game. It’s very special, not only to the program but the university as a whole,” VSU coach Darryl Jacobs said. “There are a lot happy alumni out there.
“Having won the Freedom Classic but one time since its inception, and now to have the trophy back at our place is very special to us.”
The Trojans were led by senior guard Mike Bynum, who scored 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He had five assists and three steals. This win marked the first for Bynum over Union in his career.
“It’s a good win. We haven’t beaten them in 11 years. I’m the first in 11 years to beat them, so it feels real good,” Bynum said.
Kenny Mitchell scored 14 points and had 10 rebounds for VSU.
“I knew the stakes of the game,” Mitchell said. “I was really devoted to playing defense tonight, because defense wins games. So I just did all I could do to help the team win.”
Statistically, the game was even. Union shot 50 percent to VSU’s 47.8; VSU scored 24 points in the paint to Union’s 22; and VSU had 22 points off of turnovers to Union’s 20.
The difference came at the foul line, where the Trojans hit 20 of 31 and the Panthers were 15 of 24.
On the boards, VSU had the advantage, 33-21.
“I just thought overall, they played harder than us. They seemed a lot hungrier than we did on the court,” Panthers coach Luqman Jaaber said.
The Panthers were led by Calvin Brown’s 13 points and former Hermitage player Wesley Simmons, who had 12 points and five rebounds.
“I thought I played OK. I thought I could have played better,” Simmons said.
“I believe that I could have been more active. I feel like we could have played better as a team, especially on the defensive end and rebounding.”
After being tied at halftime, the game stayed close through the first six minutes of the second half. Then John Holleman scored on a three-point play with 13:25 left to give the Trojans a seven-point advantage and control the rest of the way.
“We didn’t talk about the streak, because each season is different. You don’t play on paper. You don’t play on history. You go out and play the game. So the streak doesn’t hold any bearing to us,” said Jaaber.
“We’re upset because it was a division game. Right now, we want to win the firstname.lastname@example.org