Final Score: University of Richmond- 86, Virginia Commonwealth University- 74
What Happened: Richmond played its best game of the season, and it needed to for this game. After the Spiders held the lead the entire first half, led by freshmen forwards Deion Taylor and Alonzo Nelson-Ododa, and for most of the second half, 19th-ranked VCU began to show why it was riding a 13-game winning streak and had an undefeated Atlantic-10 record. When Rams forward Juvonte Reddic, who finished with a team-high 20 points, made a putback layup with under a minute remaining in the game to put VCU ahead by 7, the game looked to be well in hand. But a pair of plays resulting in three points by UR guard Kendall Anthony, who finished with a game-high 26 points, gave the Spiders a chance, as Richmond held the possession down three points with 12 seconds remaining. That’s where Richmond’s Mr. Clutch, senior Darien Brothers, showed up. Held in check most of the first half, Brothers, who finished with 18 points, took the ball from well behind the three-point line and sank a shot Richmond fans will remember for a long time to tie the game to tie the game at 69 and send it to overtime. With all the momentum on its side, Richmond controlled the entire overtime, outscoring VCU, 17-5, during the five-minute period. Brothers hit his second most important three-pointer of the game with 1:33 to play, putting the Spiders ahead by 8, its largest lead of the game to that point. This is a huge win in a rivalry game and should springboard the Spiders as they head into the bulk of their A-10 schedule.
Spider Positives: The most positive thing? The win, obviously. The second most (and this is a big one)? The play of Richmond’s four freshman forwards — Taylor, Nelson-Ododa, Terry Allen and Trey Davis. The quartet didn’t necessarily jump off the stat sheet, though they did combine for 25 points, but they showed some big-time poise in a very tough atmosphere. There might have actually been more VCU fans in the Robins Center than Spider fans. That poise says a lot about the future of this program, because they are the ones who will take over once Brothers, Derrick Williams and Cedrick Lindsay graduate. There are obviously a lot more positives — the ability of Lindsay and Anthony to beat VCU’s infamous “Havoc” full-court press defense and the hustle plays by Robbins and Nelson-Ododa early in the game to name a couple — but it would take too long and Richmond players’ heads would get too big.
Spider Negatives: The biggest negative was that 3-minute stretch toward the end of the game when Richmond allowed VCU to go up by 7 after the Spiders had led much of the game. Had it not been for some VCU missed free throws and Brothers’s heroics, this article would be talking about a great game that the Spiders just couldn’t finish. Other than that, there aren’t any obvious negatives.
Up Next: The Spiders continue into the heart of their A-10 schedule off their big victory, traveling to Massachusetts to take on the Minutemen this Sunday. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.
Contact staff writer David Weissman at email@example.com