VCU versus Richmond arrived in the Commonwealth on Tuesday night. The Rams rolled into this rivalry game on a three-game winning streak while the Spiders regrouped after a home loss versus #7 Dayton. A heavy one-two punch from inside and outside had the Black & Gold sending their rivals back to other end of Henrico defeated.
A Historic Start
Siegel Center brought the ruckus from the stands early as VCU sprung to 12-6 lead. The offense was hitting in stride with De’Riante Jenkins, Marcus Santos-Silva, and Issac Vann attacking the basket repeatedly.
History was made just before the under-16 timeout by Marcus Evans. On his first shot attempt, Evans connected on an And-1 three-pointer to surpass 2,000 points for his collegiate career. A fired-up Evans and Siegel Center roared as the Spiders worked on finding a defensive solution.
“It just felt good to see the ball go through the hoop. Been a rough stretch…starting to get confidence back; that’s bigger for me. 2,000 I’m blessed to be able to score that but just starting to get my rhythm back. My teammates are great and been on me this whole time and giving me confidence.”
–Marcus Evans, VCU Senior Guard
Heavy Handed Reserves
The Spiders got back into the mix with a 7-0 run as VCU’s offense cooled off hitting one shot on their next 7 attempts. Grant Golden scored a pair of layups followed by a three from Jake Wojcik to take the lead. Corey Douglas rose from the VCU’s bench and slammed down a counter to rejuvenate the Black & Gold on offense.
While the paint was getting a Black & Gold paint job, Malik Crowfield and Bones Hyland pushed VCU further ahead from three. Bones nailed his first three-point attempt from near the VCU logo and Crowfield created space near Richmond’s bench then knocked his first. Hyland kept the hot hand on the trigger from three hitting back to back treys stunning the Spiders and sending the Rams into a frenzy at home.
“That’s the biggest thing with your bench. It’s an army approach. They gave us great minutes in the first half and made the lead even bigger. That’s a huge advantage.”
Spiders Untangle, Bones Pulls Trigger
VCU’s 13 point advantage decreased to a point off of an 11-1 run by the Spiders just before halftime. Golden and Wojcik once again revived Richmond on offense as VCU’s offense hit another cold streak lasting over 4 minutes. A lifeline was found for the visitors with an offensive board off a missed free throw by Golden that turned into a three-pointer by Jacob Gilyard.
Gilyard scored Richmond’s next four points to give the Spiders their first lead of the game with 30 seconds remaining. Bones finished his fiery half of offense with his fourth three-pointer just before the buzzer to tie things up at 39-39. Hyland was a perfect 4-for-4 from three to lead VCU with 12 points in the first half.
Look Out From Range!
Jenkins and Vann continued VCU’s triple threat into the second half. Jenkins nailed an uncontested long-range jumper then after a VCU takeaway Vann answered with a triple. Coach Rhoades made a halftime adjustment starting Douglas alongside Santos-Silva to lock down the inside in favor of the Rams.
The three-point monsoon of VCU kept falling against the Spiders. Hyland remained perfect at 5-for-5 from three while putting the Rams back ahead double-digits. Mike’l Simms added three more with his first basket from long range as VCU shot 4-of-5 from three to start the second half.
Total Team Performance
Marcus Santos-Silva kept hitting Richmond with body blows near the basket. The workhorse of the Rams fed off assists and rebounds that turned into layups and one handed-jams. Richmond’s defensive struggle infected their offense shooting 3-of-14 in the first 10 minutes of the half while trailing by 18 points.
“For most of the game, we were really in the right place. Sharing the ball in one end, took great shots and on the other end, we did a really good job of helping each other. Just made an efficient team that’s very good.”
Nathan Cayo did damage for Richmond shooting four consecutive free throws however the deficit was too steep of an uphill climb. To make matters worse, Golden was issued a Flagrant 1 foul on a Santos-Silva dunk attempt with 2:11 remaining. Santos-Silva made both free throws to put the result well in hand for VCU.
Back To Henrico With The L
Tonight’s 87-68 VCU win was the Rams third straight win over Richmond dating back to last season. VCU just needed time according to Evans for the Black & Gold to thrive after winning four consecutive Atlantic 10 conference games.
“I think sometimes it takes times. We’re starting to figure it out to just let the game come to us and we are hard to beat when we play like that.”
Six Rams scored in double-digits led by Bones Hyland with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from three. De’Riante Jenkins and Marcus Santos-Silva scored 14 each against Richmond. Corey Douglas and Issac Vann had 11 points each. VCU had a 36-8 bench scoring advantage and a 42-32 advantage in the paint.
Up Next: REMATCH!
VCU Men’s Basketball heads to Rhode Island on Friday, January 31st for their A-10 rematch at Rhody. The first battle of the Rams went to Rhode Island at the Siegel Center 65-56 back in early January. Tip-off is set for a 7 PM start on ESPN2.