VCU tops Mount St. Mary’s in front of limited crowd in home opener

VCU tops Mount St. Mary’s in front of limited crowd in home opener
The VCU Rams prepare to take on Mount St. Mary's on December 5, 2020. (Source: WWBT NBC12)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It was different than any other home game that VCU fans have seen inside the Siegel Center, but Rams basketball returned to Richmond on Saturday.

Bones Hyland scored 14 points to lead the black and gold and the Rams used a 23-2 first half run to put the game away, topping Mount St. Mary’s, 60-42, in front of 250 spectators. The victory marked VCU’s 16th straight win in a home opener.

An early 9-0 Mounts run put the visitors on top, 10-6, but Mike Rhoades’s club clamped down defensively and came alive on the other end of the floor. VCU exploded on the 23-2 run, which included a 17-0 spurt, to open up a 31-14 advantage with 4:21 to play in the first half, which ended up being the biggest difference in the contest. The black and gold held a 37-20 lead at the half and never looked back.

The Rams forced 22 turnovers and came away with 17 steals, their most picks since December of 2015 against Buffalo, and turned the turnovers into 26 points. Rhoades also watched his team outscore the Mounts in the paint, 30-18.

Hyland was the only VCU player in double figures and added three rebounds and three assists to his line. It marked his fifth straight game scoring in double figures to open the season. Ace Baldwin had five assists and five boards, while Corey Douglas and Hason Ward pulled down five rebounds as well. Nine Rams recorded steals, with seven of them tallying multiple picks, led by Tre Clark’s four.

The contest resembled many other college basketball atmospheres around the country. VCU expressed appreciation for the 250 fans in attendance, but also acknowledged the difference. Benches were set up for social distancing, game personnel and coaching staff work face coverings, some artificial crown noise was pumped in and sanitized basketballs were rotated in and out of the game.

VCU improves to 3-2 on the season and continues its homestand on Wednesday against North Carolina A&T. Tipoff is set for 7:00 PM.

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