Final Score: Richmond 71 – Delaware 69
What Happened: Two made foul shots from Kendall Anthony with 2.3 seconds remaining lifted the Spiders over Delaware, 71-69, in the first game played in the renovated Robins Center. Cedrick Lindsay led all scorers with 20 points and Alonzo Nelson-Ododa and Terry Allen combined for 22 points and 16 rebounds. The Spiders held a small for the majority of the first half and took a 32-31 lead into the break. Lindsay and Nelson-Ododa each had nine points in what was a sloppy first half. Each team was in the double bonus with four minutes left in the half. Jarvis Threatt, who was the Blue Hens’ second leading scorer last season, picked up his third foul at the end of the first half. Richmond opened the second half on a 13-5 run, including a 7-0 run in a 34 second stretch that led to a Delaware timeout with the Spiders leading 45-36. Richmond was able to hold this lead for much of another half plagued with an abundance of fouls. Each team reached the bonus by the eight-minute mark. The Spiders had a scary moment midway through the half when Lindsay went down with what looked like a shoulder injury, but he returned to the game minutes later. Despite leading by 11 points midway through half, the Spiders went through a five-drought without a field goal and Delaware was able to take a 61-59 lead at the five-minute mark. Kendall Anthony, who had been quiet throughout the game to this point, hit a three-point shot with just under four minutes to play to give the Spiders a 66-63 lead. The Spiders were able to increase its lead to six, but Delaware tied the game at 69 on a three-point shot with under a minute remaining. Threatt, who ended the game with 14 points on 1-for-6 shooting, missed two foul shots with 30 seconds remaining that would have given the Blue Hens the lead. Lindsay held the ball for the last shot, but it was knocked out of bounds out with 2.3 remaining. Kendall Anthony was grabbed before the ball was inbounded, and he made his two foul shots. Delaware’s last-second heave hit the back iron and bounced out and the Spiders were able to hold on for the 71-69 victory.
Spider Positives: For starters, the atmosphere in the renovated Robins Center was fantastic from beginning to end. The arena looked to be pretty much full, and the student section was loud and on its feet throughout the game. Cedrick Lindsay had high expectations coming into the season, and he rose to the occasion in the opening game. In addition to his 20 points, he was an obvious leader on the court, which will be greatly needed on a team that played four sophomores and two freshmen. There was also talk coming into the season of the improvements the sophomore class made, and both Nelson-Adodo and Allen played well in spurts. As I mentioned in my season preview, depth should be one of the Spiders’ strengths this year, and it was encouraging to see head coach Chris Mooney use 10 players in the game. I thought the Spiders looked active on defense, and it showed in the stats as the Blue Hens shot 37.3% from the field.
Spider Negatives: Mooney said before the game referees were going to be a lot more strict on hand-checking this year and these referees fit Mooney’s description. Regardless of the referees, 26 team fouls is too many. The Blue Hens made 27 of its 37 attempted foul shots on the game, which is a big reason why they were able to keep the game close throughout despite shooting a low percentage from the field. Kendall’s three-point shot at the end of the big was clutch, but the Spiders shot 3-19 from three-point range in the game. Bad shooting nights happen, but several of these misses were ill-timed shots. I thought Derrick Williams played tough when he was in the game, but he only played 18 minutes. Williams, who is dealing with a groin injury, had six points and five rebounds. Williams, who struggled with injuries last season, is an important piece and a leader on this team, and it is concerning to know he is already battling injury problems this season.
Up Next: The Spiders host Belmont on Monday, Nov. 11. Belmont has played in the last three NCAA Tournaments.