“We are the best in the state of Virginia,” VCU forward Juvonte Reddic said without hesitation following VCU’s 81-70 win over Richmond.
The Rams sure looked the part tonight.
Reddic, who finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, was one of six Rams to score in double figures. Junior Briante Weber, whose five steals made him VCU’s all-time steals leader, led the Rams with 14 points.
Weber said he knew he had been approaching the steals record and had been keeping track of how close he was during the game.
“You didn’t see me out their counting?” he asked, laughing. “I knew when it happened. It was a great moment.”
VCU, which is now 5-0 against other Virginia schools, used a 14-2 run to open the game up and pull out to a 24-11 lead. Richmond did not get closer than six points for the remainder of the game.
“I felt like we defended really well in the first 15 minutes of the game,” Richmond head coach Chris Mooney said. “We were better on offense in the second half. We didn’t do the two of them well enough together for a long enough period of time.”
Kendall Anthony and Cedrick Lindsay carried the Spiders’ offense, scoring a combined 52 of Richmond’s 70 points. Anthony scored a career-high 31 points, and Lindsay added 21, 18 of which came in the second half.
“[Anthony] came out hot,” Lindsay said. “He had it going early. I think a lot of the focus in the second half was on him. I think they keyed on him a little more, which opened it up for everyone else.”
Mooney said he thought Anthony had been incredible.
“There’s so much asked of our guards in a game like this,” Mooney said.
Richmond shot 32 percent and committed seven turnovers in the first half, trailing 34-22 going into the break. Part of Richmond’s struggles could be attributed to VCU’s crowd, which was VCU’s 46th straight sellout.
“It’s always tough to play here,” Anthony said. “We knew that coming in; we just didn’t pull it out today.”
VCU led by as many as 16 points early in the second half, but consecutive three-point plays from Anthony helped Richmond cut the lead to six. Richmond could not get any closer, and VCU’s lead did not slip below nine points in the game’s final nine minutes.
Richmond’s best bet to comeback looked to be from the foul line, as Richmond reached the double bonus with more than 10 minutes remaining. The Spiders struggled to convert, though, finishing 18-29 from the charity stripe.
VCU looked as if it might put the game out of reach several times in the second half, but Anthony and Lindsay would not let the Spiders roll over. They combined for 38 of Richmond’s 48-second half points. The two also combined to have only one second-half turnover after committing five in the first half.
Lindsay said he was not concerned with the unbalanced scoring, and the team did not have players with big egos that got upset over him and Anthony carrying the team’s offensive load.
“I think the big guys know that, me and [Anthony], we’re going to score,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a lack of help or anything like that. I just think that, you know, the big guys are taking the shots when they are open.”
Richmond played much of the game without its defensive anchor, Alonzo Nelson-Ododa, who, as he’s done the past few games, found himself in foul trouble. He finished with three points, one rebound, and three blocks.
“He’s a tremendous defender,” Lindsay said. “He changes a lot of shots, if not blocks them. Having him on the court really does change us defensively.”
Richmond now finds itself on a two-game losing streak after winning the previous four. Richmond will look to avenge its loss to Saint Bonaventure on Wednesday at the Robins Center.