First-half score: University of Richmond- 41, Liberty University- 21
Important Stats: Darien Brothers- 5-6 shooting, 4-4 from 3-point range, 14 pts; Liberty has eight turnovers to Richmond’s three; UR 6-10 on free throws; Derrick Williams- 5 pts, 7 rebounds.
Analysis: Darien Brothers looks like the leader on a team ready to take a big step forward. Yes, it’s against a Liberty team that went 14-18 in a small conference and lost its big player, so excitement must be tempered, but the Spiders had a game against a similar level team to open last season and didn’t look anywhere near this good, so there’s clear improvement. Coach Chris Mooney got a bunch of the younger guys significant action, with freshmen Alonzo Ododa-Nelson, Trey Davis, Deion Taylor and Terry Allen all making their Richmond debuts. Ododa-Nelson is the team’s starting center, so his playing time didn’t come as a surprise, but it is possible that Mooney is just trying to get the others some experience against a team with less talent. Davis, Taylor and Allen haven’t shown much offensively yet, but all three look to improvements on the defensive end from UR’s bench players last season. Meanwhile, guards Cedrick Lindsay and Kendall Anthony are looking quick and are picking up where they left off last season, and forward Derrick Williams is just as physically imposing as ever.
What to look for in the second half: Look for more of the young guys, especially in the offensive gameplan. I expect Mooney to use more set plays to get the four freshmen good looks at the basket.
Contact staff writer David Weissman at email@example.com