Sunday afternoon at the Siegel Center had some pre-New Year’s Day fireworks from downtown between VCU and Loyola Maryland. The Rams found the hot hands of De’Riante Jenkins & Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland from three-point land to ice Loyola’s five-game winning streak in their first-ever meeting.
Let’s Dance Greyhounds
The energy was roaming for the Black & Gold out the gates but the offense needed more production time. While Mike’l Simms and De’Riante Jenkins provided points, VCU shot 14% on 1-of-7 shooting before the under-16 timeout. On the opposite end, Loyola went 3-of-5 from the field to hold a 1-point advantage.
Offense started to click for both teams as the first half continued. Andrew Kostecka stepped up for the Greyhounds hitting bucket after bucket. Even with multiple Rams on top of him, Kostecka soared above to knock down a go-ahead three-ball bringing his total to 9 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
A New Challenger Approaches
Coach Rhoades got valuable points from his bench to counter the Greyhounds. KeShawn Curry went coast to coast on a layup that brought his teammates and Siegel Center to their feet. Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland kept the Rams in the game via a step-back three over his defender to keep VCU ahead on the scoreboard.
Jenkins pushed VCU further ahead at the three-point spot. The Rams continuously moved the ball around the floor to find hot-handed Jenkins at the corner spot knocking down consecutive threes.
High-Tempo & The Kitchen Sink
Loyola cut the deficit down thanks to a couple of ball screens resulting in a dunking contest at the rim for Kavaughn Scott. With VCU’s attention on slowing down Kostecka, Scott used the screen to his advantage and slammed Loyola back into the game. Kostecka led the Greyhounds with 17 points and 2 assists in the first half.
Bones gave the Black & Gold an extra jolt before halftime. Jenkins found Bones with 30 seconds left as the VCU freshman hit his second three-pointer and the team’s eight in total. Vince Williams nearly hit #9 before time expired but the ball bounced off the iron. VCU finished the half at 48% from the field and a 19-5 bench scoring advantage while leading Loyola 40-31.
Rams Shoot Hot Fire
VCU kept firing into the 2nd half with Jenkins taking the lead. The VCU senior kept hitting from long range bringing his total to five three-pointers. As the Rams pressed on, Loyola was stuck with a turnover problem committing 4 turnovers in the opening 5 minutes.
Marcus Santos-Silva got the best of Scott on And-1 that resulted in Scott’s third foul of the game. Golden Dike checked in for Scott and made a quick impact scoring 4 points in succession and keeping the Rams off the boards physically. Kostecka kept going to war with the Rams and scored an And-1 layup just before the Under-12 timeout dropping VCU’s lead to 10.
We’re Going To WAR!
Momentum took a paradigm shift in VCU’s favor thanks to KeShawn Curry. After hitting the floor on diving steal attempt into the media row, Curry brushed himself off and went back to defend Kostecka. Curry denied Kostecka on a block and sent a thunderous alley to Corey Douglas for the oop to every Ram fan’s delight ahead 58-42 on an 11-0 scoring run.
The game took a sudden turn as Loyola’s Isiah Hart shoved Bones Hyland near the Loyola bench on a steal attempt. Both players received double technical and Champion missed the 1-of-1 free throw for Loyola.
Runnin’ To Victory
That 11-0 Black & Gold run improved to 16-0 after Vince Williams knocked down a three and Douglas banked another bucket home at the rim. Loyola couldn’t buy a bucket over this 4-minute span shooting 4-of-14 with 6 turnovers.
“We can be a special team. I feel with the work we put in that we can make a lot of noise when March comes.”
–KeShawn Curry, VCU Sophomore Guard
A special day at the Siegel Center on Sunday with the Rams hitting 50% from the field along with 14 three-pointers. Coach Rhoades thought this was a good team win fueled by ball control, bench production, and VCU’s 24 assists against the Greyhounds.
“I love when our players share the ball because it’s the right way to play. It’s also really hard to guard.”
–VCU Head Coach, Mike Rhoades
With this 85-51 victory over Loyola, VCU finishes the year at 10-3 overall. De’Riante Jenkins and Bones Hyland shot lights out with 15 points and 5 three-pointers each. KeShawn Curry erupted off the VCU bench with 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. VCU’s bench outscored Loyola’s 52-10. For the month of December, VCU went 4-1 against their opponents.
Onward To The New Year!
VCU Men’s Basketball returns to action in 2020 versus Fordham in their Atlantic 10 conference play opener. The Battle of the Rams takes place at the Siegel Center on Thursday, January 2nd at 7 PM.