First-half score: Richmond – 38, Fordham – 31
Analysis: Kendall Anthony was relatively quiet in the first half, going 2-5 from the field and scoring seven points, but another under-six-foot guard led the Spiders offense. ShawnDre Jones went 4-6 from the field as he scored a team-high 10 points. Fordham’s Jon Severe, who came into the game averaging a league-high 18.7 ppg, did not become a factor until late in the first half. He scored just eight points on 2-6 shooting. Brandon Frazier, Fordham’s second-leading scorer, carried the Rams early, as he scored 10 of their first 18 points. Alonzo Nelson-Ododa opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, and Richmond led early. Frazier tied the game for the first time since it was 0-0 at 12 with his second 3-pointer. The teams traded leads briefly, but Fordham’s last lead was when the game was 18-17 with more than eight minutes left in the half. Richmond led for the majority of the half, but the Spiders did not lead by more than six points until late in the half.
What to look for in the second half: Fordham’s offense is not to hard to figure out. The Rams have some athletic guards who can drive and shoot, so Fordham tries to isolate their best guards and let them create offense off the dribble drive. Nothing suggests the Rams will deviate from this approach in the second half, and Richmond will need to focus both on its on-ball defense, but more importantly, it’s help defense will be crucial. The Spiders will need to focus on both packing the lane and closing out on kick-outs. Richmond’s best offense in the first half was its defense. The Spiders scored 17 points off of eight forced turnovers in the opening 20 minutes. The Rams should be better at protecting the ball given their abundance of guards, but Richmond’s defensive pressure gave them some fits. The Rams will need to control the ball better in the second half to come back.