Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Men’s basketball led by one early in the first half of the Atlantic 10 championship and never led again, falling to St. Bonaventure 74-65 on Sunday afternoon at UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio.
The Rams fell behind, and the Bonnies slowly built a lead as large as 17 points in the second half.
“We got, at times, really emotional,” coach Mike Rhoades said. “It really hurt us at times by our shot selection, missing defensive assignments and allowing adversity to really affect us multiple possessions.”
The black and gold played without guard Bones Hyland for most of the first half after the sophomore picked up three fouls in the first seven minutes of the game. Hyland sat the remaining 13 minutes of the first half.
Hyland finished with 21 points, all in the second half. He shot 11-for-12 from the free-throw line in the final 20 minutes as well.
“It was kind of weird just because he sat out for so long,” junior forward Vince Williams said. “That’s not usual at all.”
Freshman guard Josh Banks played 22 minutes in the contest, most of which he played in replacement for Hyland. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native logged 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting.
“He was great,” Rhoades said of Banks. “He played like an upperclassman today with his maturity.”
St. Bonaventure used a 7-0 run to build an eight-point lead midway through the first half. VCU was held without a point for three minutes until senior forward Levi Stockard hit a layup to end the drought.
The Rams went on a 6-0 run to pull within five of the Bonnies early in the first half. The Bonnies were scoreless for just under three minutes.
The black and gold went on a 10-2 run to pull within nine points of St. Bonaventure late in the second half. Hyland scored eight of the 10 points, including four from the free-throw line.
“He liked the fight at the end of the day,” Williams said of Rhoades.
The Rams were able to cut it to seven in the second half, but couldn’t pull any closer.
The Rams will play Oregon in the NCAA tournament first round on March 20 in Indianapolis, Indiana.