3 observations from VCU men’s basketball’s win over La Salle

Freshman guard Bones Hyland logged 15 points and a season-high five assists Saturday at La Salle. Photo by Megan Lee

Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor

A 21-0 run fueled men’s basketball as it won its third straight game, beating La Salle 76-65 Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia. 

Junior forward Marcus Santos-Silva logged a game-high 16 points and added nine rebounds for the Rams. Freshman guard Bones Hyland recorded 15 points and a season-high five assists in the contest. 

Here are three observations from the win:

21-0 run

After falling behind by five in the first two minutes, the Rams responded with a 21-0 run.

“When we don’t turn it over and we take good shots, our statistics are pretty good,” coach Mike Rhaodes said. “When we take quality shots, we usually have good effective field goal percentage or we draw fouls.”

During the run, the black and gold knocked down five of their 10 Saturday 3-pointers. Hyland logged two of them, leading the Rams during the run. 

“When we was on that lead, it was just guarding with discipline,” Santos-Silva said. Having that high hand, disrupting everything, denying them and making them uncomfortable.”

The run gave the Rams their biggest lead of the game at 17 points. 

Hyland’s efficient shooting

Hyland shot 5-for-8 from the field, including 3-for-4 from beyond the arc to sink the Explorers. For Hyland, it was a clear mind that kept him focused on the game. 

“Just being myself,” Hyland said. “My teammates tell me all the time, ‘just play with confidence.’ And when I’m out there, I’m just playing.”

Hyland came off the bench and sparked a run by adding 6 points. 

“He puts another shooter out there for us, and he knows he has the green light,” Rhoades said of Hyland. “When the seniors struggle a little bit, they know Bones can come in and not just sub for them, but really help them and play.”

The Wilmington, Delaware, native connected with Santos-Silva in the post for a few of his season-high five assists. 

“I was seeing a lot of openness [in the second half],” Hyland said. “I just kept seeing Santos open on the roll and I just kept thumbing it off to him, and he was executing off that.”

Hyland came through when it mattered for the Rams, hitting a deep 3-pointer from the left wing to push the black and gold ahead by six late in the game. 

“He doesn’t play like a freshman, and his attitude is mature on the court,” Santos-Silva said. “He just plays off of basketball instincts. He’s always good as a spark plug for us as far as that.”

Ending La Salle’s comeback attempts

After the Rams’ 21-0 run, the Explorers used several runs to inch closer to the black and gold, but never regained the lead in the contest. 

La Salle used an early 10-0 run to start the second half, cutting the black and gold’s lead to six. 

“We was just telling each other one play at a time, relax, just do what we do,” Santos-Silva said. “Especially at the end when it was two minutes left, we was like ‘hey, it’s a two minute game. Let’s get stops, let’s get rebounds, let’s play smart on offense.’”

Late in the game, La Salle cut the Rams’ lead to 3 points after using an 11-0 run. During the run, the Explorers connected on back-to-back 3-pointers, something the Rams struggled limiting in the first half.  

“Today, they just hit a whole bunch of threes so we just focused on ‘just do what we got to do,’” Santos-Silva said. “And setting my guys a whole bunch of ball screens, especially in the middle because it opened up everything.”

La Salle connected on 12 threes in the contest, shooting 40% from deep. The Rams shot 46% from the field, including 47% from deep to counter the Explorers’ hot 3-point shooting.

The Rams return home Jan. 28 to host Richmond at 7 p.m.

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