SIOUX FALLS, SD (WWBT) - Nah’Shon Hyland scored a career-high 23 points and Vince William chipped in a career-best 15 points, as VCU used a strong finish to top Utah State, 85-69, in the quarterfinals of the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic. It marked the Rams’ 15th consecutive season-opening victory.
Trailing 63-56, VCU closed on a 29-6 run to come back, take the lead and slam the door on the Aggies. Utah State opened up a 55-45 lead with 14:22 to play, but the black and gold shifted gears and dug in defensively.
“I thought we did a better job rebounding the last 12 minutes of the game,” noted head coach Mike Rhoades. “We got some turnovers that led to points and gave us the momentum, so that press is a great equalizer for us. It’s just what we do.”
The Rams shot 53 percent from the floor, knocked down 10 three pointers and assisted on 16 of their 28 field goals, while also forcing 18 turnovers. VCU connected on 19 of its 22 free throw attempts.
Rhoades wasn’t afraid to test his depth. 12 players saw minutes during Wednesday night’s game, including four true freshmen. VCU’s bench outscored Utah State’s reserves, 39-15.
Hyland knocked down five three pointers on his way to a career night and was 6-of-7 from the free throw line. Williams pulled down five rebounds in addition to his point output, and Keshawn Curry helped out with ten points. Freshman Ace Baldwin dished out seven assists in his collegiate debut.
VCU moves on in the winners bracket of the Crossover Classic, where the Rams will face West Virginia in the semifinals on Thursday at 2:30 PM ET.
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