RICHMOND, Va. (AP) Jason Nelson scored 11 points and VCU never trailed after the opening minutes in a 49-47 victory against No. 18 Dayton on Friday night.

The Rams (16-8, 8-3 Atlantic 10) won for the eighth time in their last nine games, despite not scoring for the final six minutes. They held on by holding Dayton scoreless over the last 3:03.

“It was just a rock fight throughout. Really hard-fought game for us,” VCU coach Ryan Odum said. His squad has now beaten all three teams it trails in the A-10 standings.

The Rams went ahead 49-42 on a tip-in by Toibu Lawal with six minutes left, but attempted just four shots from the field the rest of the way. Lawal twice went to the free-throw line for a 1-and-1 opportunity, but each time he missed the first try.

“We manufactured enough baskets with - I’ll call it suspect, because it really was suspect offense,” Odum said. “Our offense was not very good. Down the stretch, we’ve got to be better.”

The Flyers (19-4, 9-2) fell to 0-2 in Virginia, having lost 69-64 at Richmond on Jan. 27.

“Obviously they did enough to limit us,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “Nights like that, when you struggle offensively, it’s tough. Tough to win. But we had chances.”

The Rams never led by more than eight. VCU had a chance to make it a two-possession game in the final minute, but DaRon Holmes II blocked Sean Bairstow's layup attempt with 30 seconds left.

Holmes then got a clean look at a potential tying basket, but missed and a long rebound ended it.

Nate Santos led the Flyers with 19 points and Holmes scored 12.

“Tonight wasn’t a great night for him,” Grant said of Holmes, who made just five of 13 free throws. “Wasn’t a great night for our team. And you've got to give VCU credit. They had a lot to do with that.”


Dayton: The Flyers got no points from Kobe Elvis, who averages 9.8 per game but missed all six of his shots. They got only two from Javon Bennett, who averages 9.2 a game but was just 1 for 6 from the field. Dayton went 9 of 18 on free throws.

VCU: Since allowing an average of 86.5 points in their first two A-10 games, both losses, the Rams have limited teams to an average of less than 60 points since.


Dayton is home against Duquesne next Tuesday.

VCU plays at Saint Louis next Friday.


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