Neither team scored in the final three minutes and VCU didn’t score in the final six minutes, but the University of Dayton still fell to the Rams, 49-47, when a last-second shot by DaRon Holmes II that would have tied the game and sent it into overtime clanked off the front of the rim.
Richmond, VA. — When it comes to visiting Richmond, the University of Dayton basketball team does not get rich.
After losing to the University of Richmond earlier in the season, the Flyers lost an ugly, ugly, ugly game Friday night to Virginia Commonwealth, 49-47.
If it had been a dog show, the Humane Society would have dropped a net over it.
It was all defense on both sides as offense took a full-game vacation.
Ever hear of a Division I basketball game during which neither team scored a single point in the last three minutes of the game?And the winning team didn’t score in the final six minutes.
It happened Friday night in the Siegel Center as the Flyers fell into second place in the Atlantic 10 Conference with a 9-2 record, both losses coming in the state capital of Virginia.
UD’s DaRon Holmes II tried to tie the game in the final seconds on a running drive toward the basket. His shot off the glass ricocheted off the front of the rim.
It typified a horrific night by Holmes. And it is unfair to place full blame on the shoulders of one player, even a superstar like Holmes.
But he scraped the orange paint off the rim by missing eight of his 13 free throws. And he was only 3 of 8 from the field with no dunks and scored only 12 points.
It was the same earlier in the week at Saint Joseph’s when he scored only 13. But on that night his teammates came to his rescue — 21 points each by Kobe Elvis and Nate Santos and 18 from Javon Bennett.
That didn’t happen Friday. Only Santos stepped up — 19 points.
But. . .
Elvis didn’t score and was 0 for 6. Bennett scored two points and was 1 for 6, 0 for 3 from three. Koby Brea, the nation’s best three-point marksman, was 2 for 7 from beyond the three-point line for six points.
VCU’s last point came with 5:55 left and the Rams still won.
The Flyers trailed by as many as eight midway through the second half, but a layup by Santos with 3:03 left drew UD within two at 49-47. He could have pulled his team within one, but missed a free throw on his potential three-point play.
The Flyers were 9 for 18 from the foul line.
And that was it, no more points by either side.
The final three minutes:
—UD turned it over and VCU said, “Here, take it back,” with a turnover of its own.
—After a missed UD shot and VCU rebound, Javon Bennett deflecting a pass but missed a three-point shot. The Flyers were 4 for 17 from three.
—VCU missed a shot and UD took a timeout with 1:40 left. Then Santos stepped on the line on his inbounds pass, a turnover.
—VCU’s Toibu Lawal missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 1:16 left.
—Holmes was whistled for an offensive foul with 55.7 seconds to go.
—Holmes blocked a VCU shot and the Flyers grabbed the ball and ran the clock down to 10.7 seconds before calling timeout.
—Coach Anthony Grant diagrammed a play for Holmes and he got off his contested shot that didn’t find any net and the game was over.
The game was as physical as a college wrestling match and neither team was afforded good looks at the basket and neither team got uncontested shots.
Layups were missed by both sides. VCU shot only 37.7% (20-53) and 23.8% (5-21) from three. The Flyers, though, were just as inept, 36.2% (17-47), 23.5% (4-17) from three.
Holmes, averaging 19.7 points a game, wasn’t the only straggler in the box score. VCU’s leading scorer, Max Shulga, averaged 15.1 a game, but scored only two points, both free throws.
And the Rams No. 2 scorer, Joe Bamisile (12.8 ppg) scored only five.
Santos hit a three to open festivities and the Flyers led, 3-2, before a kid named Jason Nelson hit a three.
The 3-2 lead was UD’s last lead, although the Flyers stayed close all the way, but never grabbing the lead. Neither team could put together any long runs. Each team had one five-point run.
Nelson came into the game with one three-pointer in his last 13 tries, but he hit three straight in the first half to lead VCU to a 25-22 halftime lead.
Nelson came off the bench to lead VCU with 11 points and the Rams’ bench outscored the Flyers, 23-8
A 10-6 start to the second half gave VCU a 35-28 lead. Nelson drove to the basket to give the Rams a 42-34 lead, the biggest lead of the game.
And that’s when the Flyers began their frantic and frenetic rush back that fell two points short.
Was offense and points difficult to achieve.
“That’s an understatement,” said UD Coach Anthony Grant. “Forty-seven to forty-nine, a one possession game. The last three possessions. . .two turnovers and an
opportunity at the rim that didn’t go for us.”
Of the scratching and clawing and in everybody’s face defense bv both sides, Grant said, “It was a very physical game and we’ll go back and look at the film to see what we can learn from it.”
VCU (16-8, 8-3) moved to within one game of the Flyers in the A10 standings with its eighth win in nine games after the Flyers arrived with 16 wins in their last 17 games.
“We’re disappointed with the loss, but you keep it in perspective because VCU has a good team with a talented roster. We’ll learn some things from this game as we move forward.”
But on this night, it was definitely a step backward for the Flyers.