Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Freshman guard Bones Hyland couldn’t miss from three in the first half, nailing 3-pointer after 3-pointer in the first 20 minutes.
Hyland poured in 15 points and led the Rams over Richmond 87-68 Tuesday night at the Siegel Center.
The Wilmington, Delaware, native drilled five 3-pointers in the half, including a game-tying three from near the logo to close the half.
“As soon as it left his hands, I knew it was going in,” redshirt-senior guard Marcus Evans said. “He hit that shot on me a couple times in practice. It calmed things down going into the half.”
Hyland’s 15 points, all in the first half, marked his fifth game in double figures this season.
“Some guys just have the innate ability to play with a basketball in his hands,” Rhoades said. “He’s one of them.”
That final three leveled the score and ended Richmond’s momentum heading into the break.
“Good players make momentum plays,” coach Mike Rhoades said on Hyland’s three. “The best way to have momentum out into the second half is to take it into the locker room and to take it with you to end the half.”
The Rams stormed out of the halftime break with momentum, outscoring Richmond 24-8 to start the final 20 minutes to take a 16-point lead..
“In halftime we talked about just getting to a fast start and doing what we did to start the game off,” senior guard De’Riante Jenkins said.
The first half was a game of runs as both teams traded blows with each other.
The Rams used a 6-0 run, sparked by a Jenkins fadeaway jumper from the left wing, to build an early 8-point lead for the black and gold.
Richmond answered with a 7-0 run of its own to tie the contest at 13 until junior forward Corey Douglas ended it with a layup.
Douglas tied his career-high with 11 points and added eight rebounds for VCU.
The black and gold used a 13-1 run in just under four minutes, forcing a Richmond timeout, to take a 12-point lead.
During the run, Hyland drilled three 3-pointers, including one from deep on the left wing.
Just when the Rams and the Siegel Center crowd got comfortable with a double digit lead, the Spiders went on a 13-1 run and forced four Ram turnovers to pull within two.
Richmond took a 3-point lead with less than a minute left in the first half, giving the Rams the last possession of the period. Then Hyland tied the game with his deep three.
The raucous Siegel Center crowd fueled the Rams throughout the contest. It also played a factor in the Spiders’ two 10-second violations in the backcourt.
“VCU fans, that’s one of the best fans in the country,” Hyland said. “When they into it and we’re going, there’s no stopping us. … It feels like we’re unstoppable and unguardable.”
The Rams shot 48% from the field on the night, including 47% from downtown.
The black and gold’s perimeter defense limited Richmond to shooting 21% from three, only making three.
“If they were going to make a bunch of threes, we were going to have a hard time because their offense is already efficient enough,” Rhoades said. “That was No. 1 on the list. We have to run them off the 3-point line.”
The Rams travel to Kingston, Rhode Island, to play URI on Friday night at 7 p.m and will be televised on ESPN2.