Richmond Times-Dispatch

Bones’ barrage breeds confidence

- — Wayne Epps Jr.

Just under five minutes into the second half of VCU’s game against North Carolina A&T Wednesday night, Bones Hyland corralled a long inbounds pass from Tre Clark just past the midcourt line.

He took just three dribbles closer to the rim. With no Aggies defender engaging him yet, Hyland began to gather with his left heel over the edge of the VCU midcourt logo. Blake Harris rushed to close out, but it was too late. Hyland launched and sank the 3-pointer, just his second of the game. He was 2 of 7 at that point.

But that shot must’ve lit a fire. Hyland’s 3-point shooting acumen is certainly no secret. He’s demonstrat­ed the ability to ignite before— he’d hit five 3s in a game on five different occasions entering Wednesday’s game.

Against N.C. A&T, though, Hyland went on a barrage unlike any other during his time at VCU. That first 3 he hit in the second half began a run of six straight makes from deep.

He finished 7 of 12 on 3-point attempts, setting a new career high for makes. He compiled a game-high 30 points in VCU’s blowout, 95-59 victory.

“Obviously in the first half, shot wasn’t falling,” said Hyland, a sophomore. “But, I mean, just sticking to myself. And my teammates definitely always encourage me every time I have like a little slow start.”

Hyland’s 30 points were the most by a VCU player since IssacVann scored 30 in an overtime loss to St. John’s as part of the Legends Classic in November 2018. It was the most points by a VCU player in regulation since JeQuan Lewis scored 34 against Saint Joseph’s in February 2017. Justin Tillman had 37 points in an overtime win over Dayton in February 2018.

In addition to his teammates’ encouragem­ent, Hyland— after a stretch like he had shooting the ball in the first half — said he talks to himself and brings himself up, too. He knows the shots are going to fall eventually.

“I know I can make them shots. I practice them every day. I’m in the gym every day,” Hyland said. “So I feel as though, even when I go through them moments, I’m like, ‘Yeah. Like, youwork for this. Like, it’s going to drop.’”

Not long after he hit his first one, Hyland made three more in a span of 1:26, from the 13:48 mark to the 12:22 mark. The exclamatio­n point was the third in that sequence, when he made one from from a step farther back than his first one of the half, feet not on, but beside the midcourt logo.

“Once I’m hot, it ain’t no stopping me,” Hyland said.

In this early portion of the season, Hyland’s outing Wednesday bumped his season 3-point percentage up more than 6 points, to 38.8%. The 6-foot-3, 173-pounder from Wilmington, Del., has now hit a team-high 19 3s.

“It’s just normal to me, honestly,” Hyland said. “Just, live in the gym. I mean, credit to my teammates, obviously. They help me. And with the confidence part, I mean, just believing in me.”

Rams add ‘United as One’ patch to jerseys

On Wednesday, VCU was sporting a new addition to its jerseys.

On the left-hand shoulder of the Rams’ uniforms was a new, square patch that read “United As One.”

After the game, Rhoades said the patch was devised by theVCU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee— the Rams’ athlete leadership group. Rhoades said the SAAC met and talked about it.

“They wanted to show that everybody in our athletic department, all our athletes — where there’s a lot of diversity — is together, to fight social injustice and racism,” Rhoades said. “And that’s the patch they wanted to use, to be united.”

VCU joins many teams across the sport in adding insignias to its jerseys. For instance, all Big East teams are wearing Black Lives Matter patches on their jerseys. Also, Louisville is wearing a “United As One” patch as well.

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