Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
When George Mason knocked off men’s basketball on Feb. 12, the Patriots out-rebounded the Rams by 21 — a season-high deficit.
Then the Rams traveled to Richmond a few days later on Feb. 15 and were out-rebounded by 10 in the first 20 minutes. The Rams struggled on the glass over the last four games, were bullied on the boards and out-rebounded by 43.
A day after the loss to the Spiders, the team held a 2 hour, 40 minute meeting that was “a lot of truth telling,” coach Mike Rhoades said.
“When you’re around your teammates and your coaches that care about each other and love each other and your honest, it’s not to demean anybody,” Rhoades said. “But it’s ‘we expect more of you, more of ourselves, more of each other.’ We needed to have that, and I think our guys really responded to that and they took it to heart.”
Then, on Tuesday night, No. 5 Dayton visited the Siegel Center and handed the Rams their third-straight loss 66-61, but the black and gold won the rebound battle by 10.
“It was big on rebounding,” freshman guard Bones Hyland said on the preparation. “They feed off offensive rebounds and second-chance points, so try to get offensive rebounds and slow them down on offense.”
Junior forward Marcus Santos-Silva led the Rams on the glass with his ninth double-double of the season, logging 12 points and 17 rebounds.
The Taunton, Massachusetts, native said he emphasized grabbing every rebound he could in the paint.
“I wasn’t aggressive that last couple games around the boards, and then today I just made that a priority,” Santos-Silva said. “Just focus on defense and just getting every rebound so we could get clean catches and go off on the break.”
Coach Mike Rhoades said that the Rams’ focus was to go after the ball and play physically doing it.
“Hit somebody, and go get it,” Rhoades said. “We did that a lot today. Guys flying around, guys not thinking about what happened last play, just ‘in this moment I’ve got to go get a rebound.’”
Sophomore forward Vince Williams logged seven rebounds against Richmond and added six more against Dayton, starting in both games for the black and gold.
“He goes after a lot of them,” Rhoades said of Williams. “He’s very physical on his box outs, he clears space not just for himself, but for others.”
The Rams recorded 16 offensive rebounds against the Flyers, while logging 25 on the defensive end.
“[They] got a lot of offensive rebounds. … 50-50 balls and second chance points hurt us tonight,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said of the Rams’ rebounding. “They did a good job on the glass tonight.”
The Rams travel to St. Louis to face the Billikens on Friday at 9 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.