Wednesday night was one of those magic occasions for VCU Men’s Basketball. The Siegel Center went full Black-Out mode for the next anticipated chapter of Dayton vs. VCU with LOWD noises aplenty.
Dayton soared in on a 6 game win streak and was one of two remaining teams in the Atlantic 10 without a loss. VCU got derailed on the road at Dayton and regrouped back in familiar territory against the Flyers. Late game heroics and sprinkle of Stu Magic as Coach Rhoades likes to call it went in favor of the Black & Gold on the night.
Marcus Evans got VCU started on the right note defensively. After Dayton won the tip-off, Evans stole the ball from Josh Cunningham and turned that into a fastbreak layup for VCU. The lead would increase to 7-1 after Marcus Santos-Silva scored from close range and De’Riante Jenkins hit a three-pointer.
The Flyers quickly regrouped just before the under-16 timeout. A pair of buckets for the visitors led to a three-pointer by Jalen Crutcher to take the 8-7 lead.
Both teams kept the physicality on high as the half continued. VCU kept the ball moving at a high tempo while Dayton used their muscle to try and slow the Rams down. Dayton’s offense hit the wall for about two minutes without a field goal as VCU started pulling away.
Bring In The Reinforcements!
Coach Rhoades went to VCU’s reserves and they made the most of their minutes upon checking in. PJ Byrd found Mike’l Simms for a mid-range bucket and sweetened the deal with a three-pointer of his own. The Rams offense was clicking at around 40% on field goal attempts in the first 10 minutes of the first half.
Inside the paint, Sean Mobley was working off the glass with a pair of second-chance buckets. The Rams made Dayton feel their presence at the rim as the war for glass control continued throughout the contest. Jenkins made things sweeter for the Rams with his second three-pointer that put VCU up 10 points with under 5 minutes to go.
One Of Those Shooting Nights
Even with Evans receiving his 2nd personal foul with 4:22 on the clock, VCU did not let up. Malik Crowfield provided VCU with the team’s fourth three-pointer. HAVOC forced mistakes out of Dayton with 6 turnovers that turned into 7 Black & Gold Points. The first half was a good one for De’Riante Jenkins leading VCU with 8 points and a perfect 3-for-3 from the field.
The Flyers ended the 1st half on a 9-0 scoring run to get back into the contest. VCU went the final 2:36 of the half without a basket and stuck in defensive mode. Josh Cunningham banked in a tap-in just before time expired to give the Flyers momentum. VCU held a 37-36 lead and finished the half shooting 45% from the field and 44% from three.
War Against The Clock & Whistle
A point trade of sorts was had between VCU and Dayton once the game resumed. Jordan Davis popped off the 2nd half with a Dayton three-pointer on the first shot attempt. Evans would counter with a layup by VCU followed by Issac Vann with 5 quick points including a three from the corner spot.
Foul trouble for the Flyers arrived earlier than anticipated. With 16:38 left, Josh Cunningham picked up his third personal foul. Minutes after that, Obi Toppin was whistled for his fourth foul that led Coach Anthony Grant to find other options for Dayton.
The duo of Mobley and Simms ignited VCU from downtown to put the Rams back out in front. Corey Douglas kept his guard up from inside and handled the paint duties while Santos-Silva was getting a much-needed breather.
No Clear Leader…
As time winded down, Crutcher and Jenkins traded three-pointers as Dayton and VCU continued working towards breaking the deadlock.
VCU’s leader in Marcus Evans received his 4th personal foul with 6:09 left.
As Crowfield checked in for Evans, the Rams were having trouble finding points on offense. VCU couldn’t do damage from the free throw line missing 6 consecutive free throws in the 2nd half. Marcus Santos-Silva reversed the spell with two free throws that tied the game at 65-65 with 5 minutes remaining.
That Stu Magic
Siegel Center morphed into the Animal as the game reached the final minute of play. Marcus Evans came up clutch from behind the three-point line with 33 seconds remaining to send Ram fans into a frenzy. Davis drove inside on Dayton’s next possession in search of a layup to give the Flyers a chance.
That moment led to some Stu magic as the ball sat atop the rim in a stalemate. 13 seconds on the clock and the referee called a dead ball leading to VCU taking possession. Evans scored the Rams’ final 7 points of the game to lead the Rams with a team-high 17 points.
Winner Winner! Chicken Dinner!
Dayton suffered their first Atlantic 10 defeat of the season as VCU returned to their winning ways with the 76-71 victory. VCU bounced back to a 3-1 record in A-10 play and improved to 12-5 overall.
De’Riante Jenkins went 5-of-7 from the field and finished his 31 minutes of play with 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. VCU finished the game at 45% from the field and 47% behind the three-point arc. VCU’s bench put up 20 points with Mike’l Simms’ 7 points leading the reserves.
Coming Up Next…
VCU Men’s Basketball returns to A-10 action on Saturday, January 19th versus Massachusetts. Tip-off goes down at 6:30 PM inside the Siegel Center on NBC Sports Network.