First-half score: University of Richmond- 19, Saint Louis University- 23
Important Stats: UR’s Cedrick Lindsay (7 pts), UR shooting 5-24 (20.8 percent), SLU’s Jordair Jett (6 pts), SLU shooting 8-19 (42.1 percent), SLU outrebounding UR, 22-11, UR winning turnover battle, 11-3.
Analysis: It’s very obvious to everyone present for that half why Saint Louis is leading the A-10 in scoring defense. The Billikens aren’t running any extraordinary defensive scheme or putting full-court pressure; they’re just frustrating Spider shooters by challenging every shot. UR junior forward Derrick Williams being back after missing the past nine games is good news for Spider fans, but he’s been a nonfactor thus far and SLU is dominating on the glass. Rebounding has been a sore spot for UR most of the season, but Williams’s return is supposed to help. The Billikens should be ahead by more given the difference in shooting percentage, but they’re turning it over too often, mostly on offensive fouls. Neither team is getting much offensive production from its leading scorer, as UR’s Darien Brothers and SLU’s Dwayne Evans have just two points apiece, but Evans is contributing in other ways, with a game-high seven rebounds.
What to look for in the second half: It’ll be interesting to see if UR coach Chris Mooney or any of his assistant coaches saw anything that the Spiders can exploit in the Billikens’ defense because I sure didn’t. I think Richmond will just have to start knocking down contested jumpers, or possibly look for a big second half from center Alonzo Nelson-Ododa, who can shoot it from long range, because SLU seemed to be backing off him when he gets the ball up top. Richmond is doing a pretty good job on defense, but the Billikens definitely got a few too many easy drives for layups.
Contact staff writer David Weissman at firstname.lastname@example.org