Opportunity stumbled into the Siegel Center with a mesmerizing gaze upon VCU Men’s Basketball. The Rams hosted #5 Dayton Tuesday evening for their second Atlantic 10 duel of the season; Dayton soared to victory at UD Arena in mid-January 79-65.
After losing their last two to George Mason and at Richmond, VCU was in desperate need of a turnaround to keep their double-round bye Brooklyn dreams alive. In order to that, the Rams would have to defeat the clear leader of the A-10 at 12-0 that has not lost a game since late December.
A Heavyweight Throwdown
Obi Toppin and Ryan Mikesell did damage from three to start Dayton on a 6-0 run out of the gates. Following an 0-for-4 shooting funk, VCU turned things around with HAVOC and drives. HAVOC was electric forcing two straight Dayton turnovers that turned into 4 points setting the tone early in the first half.
Jalen Crutcher brought the Flyers back out in front during another 6-0 run. During that stretch, VCU was scoreless for over 4 minutes as Crutcher laid the hammer down on a one-handed slam putting Dayton up 5 points.
Bones & Massive Reserves
Bones Hyland entered the contest as VCU’s welcomed catalyst scoring the Rams’ next 12 points including two three-pointers. Tre Clark added two lay-ins and a mean hesitation move from the bench to keep VCU within striking distance. Threes started falling late thanks to Malik Crowfield and Vince Williams off the VCU bench.
Dayton kept the Black & Gold grounded for the last 2:27 of the half without a field goal to stay ahead 36-29. VCU scored 14 of their points from in the paint while shooting 35% from the field. The Flyers shot 54% from the field and 56% from three in the first half.
“I feel tonight (was) a learning process. We had a great performance with a couple minor mistkaes.”
–Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland, VCU Freshman Guard
War On The Comeback Trail
Keeping the ball hot early in the second half were Bones Hyland and Vince Williams. Williams did damage from the free-throw line and Hyland connected on from long range. Obi Toppin responded after being held to only 3 points in the first half with back-to-back layups inside.
The war made way into the paint for a duel between Santos-Silva and Toppin. Both players collided in the post and traded contested baskets as Siegel Center continued cheering on the possible VCU comeback.
Both teams suddenly went scoreless for over three minutes heading into the final 10 minutes of the contest. Cohill and Crutcher combined for 5 points to kickstart Dayton’s offense back out in front. Following a layup from Santos-Silva, a 6-0 run brought life back into the Stu while trailing 52-50 with 6:19 remaining.
Fighting Until The Final Buzzer
Foul trouble became a concern for VCU once Bones Hyland and Marcus Santos-Silva picked up their 4th personal foul. Dayton’s Trey Landers and Ibi Watson collected their 4th foul in the trenches late in the game. The duo of Cohill and Crutcher iced the game at the free throw as Dayton finished the 2nd half going 17-of-24 from the line.
The fight returned to the Siegel Center but the result remained the same against #5 Dayton in a 66-61 defeat for VCU. This was Dayton’s first win at the Siegel Center since 2015. VCU has lost three consecutive A-10 contests and dropped 7-6 in conference play. Marcus Santos-Silva racked up a double-double of 17 rebounds and 12 points. Bones Hyland was VCU’s leading scorer with 18 points.
“No Excuses. It is what it is. It stinks. It’s no fun…let’s do something about it. Let’s find a way. We took a good step against a great team.”
Onward to the Show-Me State!
The next Atlantic 10 match-up for VCU Men’s Basketball is on Friday, February 21st at Saint Louis. Tip-off begins at 9 PM on ESPN2. Marcus Evans is “day-to-day” with his knee injury and did not play versus #5 Dayton.