Having fun and playing loose propels VCU men’s basketball past 5-game skid

Redshirt-senior forward Issac Vann laughs talking to coach Mike Rhoades. Photo by Megan Lee

Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor

In the first half, freshman guard Bones Hyland was walking backwards in between Colonial free throws when he felt something touch his legs, and then he fell over. He tripped on a kid wiping sweat off the floor.

Hyland stood up with a smile and looked toward the bench where coach Mike Rhoades wore a smirk.

“I didn’t see him behind me. I’m just walking back and ‘oh, what got me?’” Hyland said. “And I just fell back and I was like ‘oh, snap’ that little man.”

The Rams had fun Saturday afternoon, and that’s exactly what Rhoades wanted. 

“You play because you love what you do,” Rhoades said. “You love basketball and you can’t lose that because usually that’s when you play your best. I was making sure our guys were going to have fun today, no matter what the result was.”

The high-flying dunks and alley-oops showed the Rams playing loose as they beat George Washington 75-51. 

Late in the second half, many fans in the Siegel Center were seated as they watched the game. Then Rhoades got fired up, yelling and waving his hands up and down. 

The crowd responded and it led to a George Washington shot clock violation. 

“When I wasn’t here, I seen a meme of him doing that,” Hyland said. “Just to see it live, it was good to see him amped up and see the crowd get into it.”

The win snapped the Rams’ five-game losing streak, dating back to Feb. 12 against George Mason. Sophomore guard KeShawn Curry said the team didn’t lose confidence during the run, but the win helped.

“I feel like we always had confidence, but this definitely ramps our confidence up even more,” Curry said. “It’s a perfect time to make a run, so big confidence booster right here.”

Rhoades’ goal Saturday will be the same for the rest of the season: to have fun. 

“For the rest of this year, nobody’s going to have more fun than me,” Rhoades said. “I don’t care what anyone says, this is basketball. It’s still a game.”

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