First-half score: University of Richmond- 32, Virginia Commonwealth University- 29
Important Stats: UR’s Deion Taylor (7 pts, 4 reb), Alonzo Nelson-Ododa (3-3, 6 pts), UR shooting 52.4%, VCU’s Melvin Johson (4-4, 9 pts), Juvonte Reddic (7 pts, 3 reb, 3 fouls)
Analysis: Neither team has really been able to get into an offensive rhythm, but that’s favoring the Spiders right now. Everyone knew coming into this game that the Rams’ defense was one of the best in the country, and it hasn’t disappointed, but it’s Richmond’s defense that seems to surprising the crowd. Plus, when Richmond has been able to get shots off, they’ve been good, led by the young big men Taylor and Nelson Ododa, shooting a combined 5-6 with two made threes. Richmond has made VCU’s leading scorer Treveon Graham a non-factor offensively, as he was held scoreless. More importantly perhaps, UR was able to get VCU big man Juvonte Reddic into foul trouble. Reddic is a force inside, and he had his way down low when he was in the game. VCU has been able to keep UR leading scorer Darien Brothers quiet, as he has just four points, all coming on free throws late in the half. Also important, Richmond was able to beat VCU’s press defense after an early 10-second backcourt penalty. Couldn’t ask for much more more from Chris Mooney’s team in that half.
What to look for in the second half: Taylor and Nelson-Ododa have done their job, and it should open things up more now for shooters Brothers and Kendall Anthony. If they can hit them, we may be looking at a huge upset for UR. Look for Richmond to address Melvin Johnson too, as he was able to get into the lane much too easily.
First-Half Photos: Student section before game.
Contact staff writer David Weissman at email@example.com