The University of Richmond men’s basketball team knocked off 12th ranked University of Massachusetts 58-55 on Wednesday night at the Robins Center.
The win marked the highest ranked team beaten in the Robins Center since 1986, when the Spiders defeated sixth ranked Georgia Tech University.
“I’m really proud of my team,” coach Chris Mooney said. “I thought our defense was tremendous and I think that was what clearly won us the game.”
For a team that averaged 79.2 points per game coming into the night, the Minutemen were held well below that average on 40 percent shooting from the field.
Junior Kendall Anthony led all scorers in the game with 21 points on 8 for 14 shooting (4-6 from three point range). Sampson Carter had a team-high 15 points for the Minutemen.
“With Cedrick [Lindsay] out with foul trouble I just had to step up as a leader and run the point guard position,” Anthony said.
The Minutemen’s senior Chaz Williams, a preseason first-team all Atlantic 10 selection, was held to just 2 of 11 shooting for eight points. Williams is averaging 16.3 points per game this season and is widely considered the front-runner to win conference player of the year.
“It’s always good to play against that type of competition,” Anthony said. “He’s definitely one of the best point guards in the country… He’s a really good player and I respect him.”
The sides were almost identical across major team statistics but it was the Spiders who controlled the tempo throughout the contest.
The Spiders took a 27-22 lead into the halftime break behind the stroke of Anthony. Anthony led all scorers with 12 points in the half and senior Derrick Williams added four points.
But it was the defense of the Spiders that disrupted Chaz Williams and the Minutemen. UMass shot just 28 percent on 8-29 shooting in the half. Chaz Williams was held to 1-7 from field and just two assists.
Redshirt-sophomore Trey Davis grabbed 6 rebounds and the Spiders blocked four shots before heading into the locker room.
After a quick Lindsay foul that forced him out of the game, the Spiders turned the ball over five times and the Minutemen jumped out to an 8-2 run to begin the second half.
Lindsay struggled with foul trouble and couldn’t find his touch all night, shooting just 4 of 15 from the field, well below his season average.
The Minutemen’s early second-half run was answered by the Spiders and the back-and-forth blows continued throughout the half. The game was tied four different times in the second half.
After Lindsay knocked down two free throws to put the Spiders up three points with 10 seconds left, the Minutemen had a chance to tie.
Chaz Williams got free for an open three pointer but it clanged off the rim and the Spiders pulled off the upset. Fans from the packed student section rushed the floor as the Spiders moved to 13-6 overall and 3-1 in the A-10.
“I’ll tell you what, this league is tremendous,” Mooney said. “You want to build confidence and take that from the game but you don’t want to be so excited that you forget about preparing for the next game as well as you can.”
The Spiders return home to Robins Stadium for a 4 p.m. tip-off Saturday against conference foe Saint Joseph’s University. The Hawks are also 3-1 in A-10 play this season.
Contact staff writer Oliver Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org