Without Williams, VCU falls big to Dayton 82-52

VCU Ram players sit on the bench reflecting during the final five minutes of their game against Dayton on Feb. 2. During this picture, the black and gold were behind by at least more than 20 points. Photo by Kaitlyn Fulmore.

Arrick Wilson, Sports Editor

The VCU men’s basketball program lost to the University of Dayton Flyers 82-52 during the Wednesday night game, at the Stuart C. Siegel Center. Dayton head coach Anthony Grant praised his team for being “locked in,” to win the late-night contest, in an interview with the Dayton Daily, David Jablonski.

“I thought the guys did a really good job. You know, obviously, caveat is, you know, VCU was missing a really important piece in Vince Williams not being there, but I thought our guys understood that we were coming into a difficult place to play, and then they would have to be locked in together,” Grant said. 

The black and gold were without their top scorer, senior guard Vince Williams Jr. He did not play due to a calf strain, according to VCU head coach Mike Rhoades. The Rams were also without freshman forward Jalen DeLoach because of concussion protocol.

The Rams and the Flyers had a back and forth game in the early minutes of the contest, with both teams trading offensive runs. The Flyers broke away from the Rams around the 15-minute mark of the first half, putting together an 11-0 offensive run. This run stopped the black and gold from scoring for around a minute and 30 seconds. In a postgame interview, Rhoades attributed Dayton for outperforming the Rams.

“Credit to Dayton. They came in here and whooped us today. They outworked us, outcoached us. They did everything today,” Rhoades said. 

Dayton led the Rams 43-28 at halftime. The Flyers were led by sophomore forward Toumani Camara who had 16 points at the half, shooting 100% from beyond the arc. The Flyers ended the game shooting 48% from the three-point line, making seven of their 15 attempts. Camara put up 18 points and had eight rebounds. 

“Look all credit to them [Dayton]. They came in here and played a great game. They took it to us,”  Rhoades said. “We didn’t have a rhythm today. We didn’t have a flow to our game today.”

The Rams ended the game shooting 41% from the field and 18% from the three. The black and gold also picked up 17 turnovers, turning into 23 points for the Flyers. The Flyers outrebounded the Rams, 40-22. 

Jon Rothstein, college basketball insider for CBS Sports Network, spoke out about the Rams loss in the “Stu.”

“Dayton over VCU by 30 at the Siegel Center. As lopsided a home loss as I’ve ever seen the Rams endure in all my years on this beat,” Rothstein stated in a tweet

Freshman forward DaRon Holmes II led the Flyers with 21 points, breaking his career-high. Holmes also added seven rebounds, while redshirt freshman guard Kobe Elvis scored 20 points. A redshirt is when there is a pause in an athlete’s career, often to prolong their career, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 

Holmes was thrilled for his team and said it was one of the best games by the flyers of the season, in an interview with Dayton Daily news reporter, David Jablonski.

“I think that was one of our best performances of the season. You know, we all locked in together. We played as a team, we played great defense, we played tough and we played with heart and passion,” Holmes said. 

Sophomore guard Adrian Baldwin Jr. led the Rams with 12 points and four assists. Sophomore forward Mikeal Brown-Jones scored 10 points and had three rebounds. 

The Rams look forward to the game versus the Duquesne Dukes on Saturday, where Rhoades said the team will hope to regroup and come back to correct their mistakes in this game. Rhoades said that the team will make sure to correct those in-game miscues. 

“You got to stay connected and you have to find a way to break that run, make a run of your own. And, we just didn’t have that today. That’s what’s disappointing as a coach, but I blame myself first, and we’ll fix it; we’ll fix it for sure.” Rhoades said.

The Rams will host a home game against the Duquesne Dukes on Feb. 5 at 4 p.m., at the Stuart C. Siegel Center. For ticket information, visit vcuathletics.com. The game will be televised on MASN2, CBS6 and ESPN+.

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