When convincing a college basketball fan to watch a VCU game, all one needs to do is say two words: Bones Hyland.
Hyland continued his white-hot start to the 2020-21 season, scoring a career-high 31 points as VCU defeated Western Carolina University 93-68. The Rams never trailed in the contest.
Hyland’s scoring was roughly even between halves, tallying 15 in the first half and 16 in the second. The sophomore guard from Delaware set social media ablaze with his crowning achievement: back-to-back 3-pointers coming out of the final media timeout of the game. The pair pushed Hyland’s 3-pointer tally to six on the night, by far the highest in the game.
Bones Hyland is breaking out right in front of our very eyes.
31 tonight for VCU. https://t.co/4YQhyf2LOm
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) December 16, 2020
The 31-point performance by Hyland marks his second 30-point game in the last six days. Prior to that, no VCU player had scored 30 or more since Issac Vann in a November 2018 loss to St. John’s.
Along with Hyland, three other Rams scored double-digit points. Freshman Jamir Watkins scored 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting. One of Watkins’ misses was a dunk attempt that careened off the rim in the first half.
More life altering than a 10-day trip to Europe. pic.twitter.com/wiTODTX3U3
— By George. (@ByGeorgeGMU) December 16, 2020
Senior forward Corey Douglas scored a season-high 11 points, buoyed by a personal 5-0 run to open the game. Douglas also tallied two rebounds, two assists, a block and two steals. Junior forward Vince Williams scored 10 points and led the Rams in rebounds with six. Williams also picked up a technical foul in the first half.
As a team, VCU shot 59% from the floor, 42% from behind the 3-point line. The Rams took a commanding advantage thanks to points off turnovers, outscoring Western Carolina 29-6 in that department. VCU led Western Carolina in steals 13-1 in the contest and led 21-14 in team assists.
With the loss, the Western Carolina Catamounts snapped a five-game winning streak. Western Carolina entered the night averaging 87.4 points per game, good for 30th in the country. The 68 points scored Tuesday are the second-lowest scored this season by the Catamounts.
Western Carolina guard Matt Halvorsen entered the game seventh in the nation in 3-pointers made. Halvorsen scored 12 in the contest, including two 3-pointers. The Catamounts were paced by sophomore Xavier Cork’s 16 points. Cork led Western Carolina with five rebounds while shooting a team-high 70% from the floor.
The loss drops Western Carolina to 6-2 on the season. Up next for the Catamounts is a road game against the College of Charleston.
The win propels VCU to a 6-2 record in the non-conference portion of its season. VCU’s final non-conference game will be the most anticipated of the Rams’ season: a road game against LSU and former VCU head coach Will Wade. Wade led the Rams to a 51-20 record and two NCAA tournament appearances before leaving for LSU in 2017. Since arriving at LSU, Wade has led the Tigers to a 104-71 record and an NCAA tournament appearance.
Wade’s time in Baton Rouge has not been without controversy. In 2019, a scandal broke involving allegations of recruitment violations committed by Wade, which led to a three-game suspension by the university.
LSU visited the Siegel Center last season as part of a home-and-home clause in Wade’s VCU contract. VCU defeated #23 LSU 84-82 that night in an energized contest in front of a packed crowd.
VCU and LSU are scheduled to tip-off at 9 p.m. on Dec. 22. It is unknown if Wade, who is currently recovering from COVID-19, will be on the sidelines for next week’s game.