Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Earlier this season, Men’s Basketball coach Mike Rhoades told his team if they wanted to win the Atlantic 10 title, they would have to win on the road.
The Rams were 1-2 on the road in true road games entering conference play, falling to Old Dominion and No. 4 Virginia. Opening A-10 play, VCU beat Fordham on the road but then lost to Davidson and Rhode Island the following two road games despite leading in each.
“The A-10 is unbelievable,” Rhoades said. “It’s an awesome league, and to win on the road against anyone is really hard.”
The Rams have done just that — they have won six games on the road during their 11-game winning streak.
“We still have a young team,” Rhoades said. “I told our guys if you want to win the league, you’ve got to beat people on their court — which is the hardest thing to do in college basketball. But we want to take pride in that. As a coach, I want our guys to take great pride in that, to go on somebody else’s court and play your way and find a way to win on the road.”
HAVOC showed its success on the road Tuesday night at George Mason, limiting the Patriots to only 36 points — a new program record.
“I think its maturity, I think our army approach — even on the road — it travels, our defense travels,” Rhoades said after the win at George Mason. “And I think at times we play better defense on the road than we do at home and tonight was an example of that.”
The defense also held George Mason to shooting 24.5 percent from the field, including 11.1 percent from beyond the arc.
VCU held St. Bonaventure to shooting 26.6 percent from the field and only 5.6 percent from three Feb. 9 in Olean, New York.
The Rams also have found ways to win on the road in the waning minutes. Against Dayton, the Rams lost a 22-point second half lead but redshirt-junior guard Marcus Evans hit the game-winning layup with less than 10 seconds on the clock to lift the Rams over the Flyers.
After Evans hit the layup, VCU made a big stop as Dayton tried to inbound the ball in under the hoop, but it was swatted away by sophomore forward Marcus Santos-Silva as time expired.
“If you want to win and you want to win a championship, you’ve got to stop people,” Rhoades said. “There’s times where you just have to sit down five guys in half court or quarter court and get stops. We are going back to that, and we are going to live on that.”