Defense leads VCU men’s basketball over Dayton

Sophomore guard Bones Hyland shoots a 3-pointer against North Carolina A&T on Dec. 9. Photo by Megan Lee

Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor

Junior forward Vince Williams knocked down a 3-pointer during VCU’s first possession of Saturday afternoon’s matchup, which led the Rams to force a 10-second violation on Dayton’s possession. Those two trips down the floor set the tone for the game, with VCU in control the whole way. 

The Rams knocked off Dayton 66-43 at the Siegel Center behind sophomore guard Bones Hyland’s game-high 28 points and five rebounds. 

The Rams outrebounded the Flyers 44-32, something Williams said was a key to win the game.

“Everybody just had to be a part of the rebounding game since they’re kind of bigger than us,” Williams said. “So, we just had to fight our hardest and rebound the ball and get out in transition.”

VCU held Dayton to shooting 31% from the field after the Flyers entered the game shooting 50%. 

The Rams held the Flyers without a point for more than two minutes at the start of the game. The visitors couldn’t take advantage of the drought, shooting 1-for-7 to open the contest. 

Minutes later, it was all VCU, as the Rams went on a 14-0 run to build a 15-point lead early on. Hyland led the way, scoring five points. During the run, Dayton was held without a point for just over seven minutes as the Rams feasted on their missed shots. 

The Rams took a 20-point lead to the locker room after only giving up 13 points in the first half — the fewest the Flyers had scored since 2010. The double-figure lead was similar to the black and gold’s previous game on Wednesday at St. Bonaventure, where they had a 15-point lead erased. 

“We decided that we had to keep going, Rhoades didn’t have to say anything about it,” Williams said. “It was just a team player conversation, we did what we had to do.”

VCU held Dayton without field goals for multiple two-minute stretches over the second half to maintain its lead. 

The black and gold held the Flyers without a made 3-pointer for most of the night. Dayton didn’t connect from deep for the first 34 minutes of the game and only made three of their 20 attempts. 

Coach Mike Rhoades said freshman guard Ace Baldwin played “his best game of the year” after he held Dayton’s star guard Jalen Crutcher to 4 points. 

“His defense on Crutcher was outstanding,” Rhoades said. “When you have a freshman point guard playing against one of the best guards in the league and plays like that — it makes his teammates better.”  

Crutcher entered the afternoon averaging 19.5 points for Dayton. 

VCU forced 15 Dayton turnovers, while scoring 13 points off of them. The Rams logged 14 turnovers and the Flyers scored 10 points off of the mistakes. 

The Rams are back in action on Wednesday against Massachusetts at 7 p.m. at the Siegel Center. The game will be televised on ESPN+. 

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