VCU pulled off an epic comeback Friday night, defeating the previously A-10 unbeaten Dayton Flyers (12-6, 4-1), 63-62.
In a season that’s seen its share of slow starts, the Rams found themselves in that position once again in front of 13,407 in Dayton’s UD Arena. The black and gold took an early 6-4 lead, but from that point on the Flyers would take over, outscoring VCU 29-13 the rest of the half to put the Rams in a 14-point hole heading into halftime.
Out of the locker room Mike Rhoades’ squad quickly clawed back, pulling within five points of the Flyers in just over three minutes of second half action. David Shriver’s three put the contest at 35-30, but was a sign of what was to come from the sharpshooting Hartford transfer.
As the Rams would inch closer to taking the lead, Dayton would come up with a play, but seemingly every time the Flyers answered, so did Shriver, introducing himself to a national audience in the ESPN2-televised game. The Philippi, West Virginia native would hit six second half threes, none bigger than one with 28 second to go, trimming Dayton’s lead to one after an unfortunate Ace Baldwin turnover seemed to signal an impending loss for the Rams.
Following that Baldwin turnover, VCU set up their famous press and would catch freshman point guard, Mike Sharavjamts, in a trap that would see the panicked Flyer attempt a halfcourt heave to what he felt was an open man before Shriver would intercept it and turn it into a made transition three.
Still, the Rams found themselves down one and maybe needing to foul to extend the game. On the ensuing possession however, havoc struck again, as an Ace Baldwin and Nick Kern halfcourt trap turned in a Kern steal and fast break layup, giving VCU the final bucket, the last lead of the evening and a monster win.
Shriver scored all of this team-hight 18 points in that second half. He was 6-8 from range on the evening and added two rebounds and a steal Ram fans will likely watch for years to come.
Kern’s game-winning basket was two of his nine points for the Rams. The sophomore added three rebounds, two steals and a block in his second start of the season for VCU.
Brandon Johns Jr. was Steady Eddie as always, the Michigan grad transfer chipping in 16 points on 8-12 shooting against Dayton sophomore star, DaRon Holmes.
The Rams scored a blistering 44 second half points against the nation’s 18th ranked defense. VCU also turned the Flyers over 27% of their possessions. The Rams currently rank fifth nationally in turnover percentage defense.
The win moves VCU to 13-5 on the season and 4-1 in conference, currently tied with the Flyers atop the A-10 standings, but for the moment at least holding a head-to-head tie-breaker against their foes from Ohio. It was the second consecutive road win for VCU.
The Rams will return home for a Tuesday matchup with UMass before heading across town to UofR in another FridA10 primetime contest.