A sign in the Richmond student section read, “Where there’s D-Will, there’s a way,” but despite the return of Spider forward, Derrick Williams, the Spiders were unable to find a way to defeat the St. Louis Billikens, losing 56-46.
For the first time since December, Williams was back in the lineup for the Spiders. His presence alone was not enough to spark the team past the Billikens Saturday night at the Robins Center.
The Spiders struggled offensively in the first half, shooting only 20.8 percent and making only five shots. But a strong, defensive effort, led by Alonzo Nelson-Ododa’s three blocks, kept the halftime lead at a manageable four-point deficit.
Early in the second half, the Billikens’ defensive pressure continued to frustrate the Spider shooters and helped increase their lead to 17 points.
“It’s frustrating, the way they denied me the ball,” Richmond senior guard Darien Brothers said. “As a scorer, you want the ball. They just wouldn’t let me have it.”
Late in the second half, the Spiders would find a way to comeback.
With 6:48 left in the second half and the Spiders down by 17, Brothers came around a screen and knocked down a three-pointer from the top of the key. Moments later, Cedrick Lindsay dribbled through the Billiken defense for a layup to incite the comeback.
The Spiders continued on a 13–1 run to cut the lead to five points with a little more than three minutes remaining. This would be the closest the game would be, though, as St. Louis would make its free throws the rest of the way to end the game on an 11-6 run.
Lindsay led all scorers with 20 points, accounting for almost half of his team’s points, as no other Spiders scored in double-figures. Known for their outstanding three-point shooting, the Spiders struggled from long distance, shooting just 3 for 15 from three-point range.
Defense for the Spiders was especially strong, as they forced the Billikens into 20 total turnovers. Nelson-Ododa made numerous big plays defensively and finished with six blocks.
“I thought we played well on defense,” Richmond coach Chris Mooney said. “We were disruptive and forced them to turn it over.”
The comeback for Williams proved to be frustrating, as he tallied just six points and three rebounds, after being limited to 15 minutes of play because of foul trouble. His teammates and coaches were optimistic about his return and are looking forward to his progression.
“Having Derrick back definitely helped,” Brothers said. “It will definitely help us down the road.”
The 46 points for the Spiders was their lowest scoring total so far this season, and this was only their second loss at home. They will look to bounce back this Wednesday, when they travel to Philadelphia to take on Saint Joseph’s.
Contact JR Riddick at firstname.lastname@example.org