Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Just as the game looked promising for men’s basketball on the road at Dayton, it took a 180-degree turn.
The Rams jumped out in front to start the second half on a 6-0 run to pull ahead by 1 point, but that didn’t last long. No. 13 Dayton answered with a 22-0 run of their own to build a 22-point lead.
“They [Dayton] made some plays, but we lost it,” coach Mike Rhoades told Ram Radio’s Rodney Ashby postgame. “The wheels fell off for that stretch and we were very undisciplined. … We took some bad shots, we turned it over.”
Dayton held onto its lead and handed the Rams their second straight loss in Atlantic 10 play 79-65 Tuesday night in Dayton, Ohio.
During the Flyer run, the Rams didn’t score for over six minutes and missed nine shots in a row.
The Rams shot 43% from the field on the night, including 15% from deep. Dayton shot a 50% clip from the field, but the Rams limited them to shooting 33% from deep.
Senior guard De’Riante Jenkins led the Rams with 16 points and logged four rebounds. Junior forward Marcus Santos-Silva added 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
The Rams forced 20 Flyer turnovers, scoring 31 points off the errors. They also turned the ball over 15 times.
In the early going, neither team could get into a rhythm, shooting a combined 3-for-10 from the field.
The Rams turned the ball over five times in the first five minutes of the contest, allowing Dayton to take a 4-point lead using a 6-0 run.
Moments later, the black and gold responded with a 6-0 run of their own and pulled in front by 2 points.
Dayton used a 7-0 run over one and a half minutes to pull ahead by 4 points, and then the game turned chippy. Redshirt-senior guard Marcus Evans took a high elbow to his body and then wrestled to the floor with a Flyer. He received a personal foul after the tussel, and double technicals were handed out to redshirt-senior forward Issac Vann and Dayton’s center Jordy Tshimanga.
“We fought like crazy today. … At times, we lost our composure,” Rhoades said. “With the senior group we have and the older guys, we can’t do that.”
After both teams calmed down, freshman guard Bones Hyland took control for the Rams, hitting two 3-pointers en route to dropping 12 first-half points. He finished with a career-high of 16 points.
The Rams led by as many as 5 points in the first half, but the Flyers flipped the script and closed the first 20 minutes on a 12-2 run to push their lead to 5 points.
The black and gold’s comeback attempt fell short as they didn’t record a made field goal in the final two minutes, 38 seconds.
Dayton out-rebounded the Rams 37-31, despite VCU winning the battle on the offensive glass 13-12.
The Rams scored 38 points in the paint while the Flyers scored 34 points in the paint.
“When we got to half court defense, our defense at the rim was horrific today,” Rhoades said. “You can’t give a team that’s so efficient at offense easy ones, and that’s how they get going.”
After Tuesday night’s loss, the Rams are 1-2 against ranked opponents this season — the lone win being against No. 23 LSU on Nov. 13.
The Rams return home Saturday to host St. Bonaventure at 2 p.m. and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.