Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Sophomore guard Bones Hyland didn’t score for the first 12 minutes on Wednesday night, but by the time he did, he had five rebounds.
The aggressiveness on the glass led to Hyland logging a career-high 12 rebounds as men’s basketball beat Richmond 68-56 at the Siegel Center. After the game, Hyland said he was battling a hip flexor injury during the week.
Rhoades said Hyland was playing at “60 to 70%” while competing with the injury.
“It felt looser today, and he wanted to give it a try,” Rhoades said. “I love it that he was defensive rebounding the way he is, playing in there, getting some good ones.”
VCU won the rebounding battle convincingly, out-rebounding Richmond by 16.
The Rams, who were 23-for-36 on shots inside the arc, outscored the Spiders 42-28 in the paint.
“Outside shot was definitely not falling a lot how it usually is, so going inside and trying to get the bigs some presence and just playing inside out honestly, that definitely worked for us,” Hyland said. “When our shot’s not falling, we just gotta rely on the bigs — they always help us out.”
Hyland, who scored 20 points, provided most of the offense from deep with two 3-pointers; the Rams only hit three in the game.
Richmond got on the board first then went cold. The Rams went on a 6-0 run that lasted more than two and a half minutes as the Spiders missed seven shots in a row. Senior forward Levi Stockard III powered the run, scoring four points.
VCU held Richmond off the board for more than four minutes during the run.
Both teams went cold after the early run. The Rams didn’t score for more than four minutes, and the Spiders didn’t log a point for more than two minutes.
The Rams went on an 8-0 run late in the first half, capped by a Hyland 3-pointer. The run gave the black and gold its then biggest lead of the night at six.
VCU’s havoc defense stood tall to close the half, limiting Richmond to two for its last 12 shots in the period.
Early in the second half, the Spiders jumped out onto an 11-2 run to take a single-point lead. During the run, the Rams were held without a point for more than three minutes.
The game became a back and forth affair of runs as the Rams went on a 5-0 run to take a 4-point lead, but the Spiders erased it with a 7-0 run.
VCU answered with a 6-0 run to take a 3-point lead. Later in the half, the Rams tacked on another 6-0 run to push the lead to 7 points before finishing on a 7-0 run.
Freshman forward Jamir Watkins accounted for four points during the 6-0 run, logging 10 points and a block.
“You look at some of the plays he made today — he didn’t look like a freshman,” Rhoades said of Watkins. “He made some great defensive plays today, and he’s getting better and better.”
The Rams closed the game making 10 of their last 11 shots and held the Spiders without a point for the final three minutes.
VCU shot 51% from the field, holding Richmond to 33%. It wasn’t a pretty 3-point shooting night for either team, as the Rams shot 20% from deep and the Spiders shot 16%.
The Rams will host George Mason on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., and the game will be televised on NBC Sports Network.