Final Score: Richmond 73 – George Washington 65
What Happened: A career-high 25 points, including 18 in the second half, from freshman ShawnDre Jones and a 16-point, nine-rebound night from Terry Allen was not enough for the Spiders, as George Washington used its interior athleticism to beat Richmond, 73-65. The Colonials grabbed 16 offensive rebounds in out-rebounding the Spiders, 45-33. Four Colonials scored in double figures, including Kevin Larson, who had 11 points and 13 rebounds. Alonzo Nelson-Ododa, once again, picked up his second foul early and was forced to the bench. George Washington had the advantage down low as it was, but losing Nelson-Ododa only made matters worse. The Colonials’ went on to dominate the glass, grabbing 11 offensive rebounds and out-rebounding Richmond, 28-17 in the half. On the other end of the court, the Colonials held Kendall Anthony scoreless for the first 15 minutes. Besides Terry Allen, who scored nine points, Richmond’s offense looked flat until Anthony caught fire late. He scored seven quick points for the Spiders and gave them their first lead of the night. Jones, who finished with seven first-half points, hit a tear drop in the closing seconds of the first half to give Richmond a 29-28 halftime lead. The two teams traded several leads early in a fast-paced start to the second half. Nelson-Ododa picked up a soft foul, his third of the game, seven minutes into the half, and the Colonials continued to pound away down low. Richmond’s answer was Jones, who scored eight points in the first 10 minutes of the half. Jones’ hot streak continued, as he scored five consecutive points with less than six minutes to play, which gave Richmond a 57-55 lead and brought the crowd to its feet. Maurice Creek, George Washington’s leading scorer, was relatively quiet before hitting a 3-pointer, which gave the Colonials back their lead. Jones then hit another three, his fifth of the game at that point, to cut George Washington’s lead to one with less than three minutes to play. The Colonials’ would go on to score on its next possession, increasing its lead to three. Richmond, which was unable to score on its three possessions following Jones’ 3-pointer, was forced to foul George Washington to extend the game, and the Colonials made enough free throws to hold on to the victory.
Spider Positives: Jones continues to impress more and more every game. His combination of poise and confidence is remarkable, given he’s a freshman who did not play much the first half of the season. It’s looking like he might have a bright future ahead of him in a Richmond jersey. And how much — for lack of a better word — fun is Richmond’s backcourt? How many teams play not just one but two sub-6-foot guards who are gritty and fearless? There can’t be many. Richmond’s front court struggled with George Washington’s athletic forwards, but Allen played one of his best games in a Spider uniform. The sophomore forward was Richmond’s most consistent player on the offensive end tonight, and his second-half rebounding was superb.
Spider Negatives: Nelson-Ododa finds himself in the negative section tonight not because of how he played, but because, well, he didn’t play too much. The Spiders cannot afford losing their starting center and defensive rock to foul trouble so frequently. Richmond also went just 6-14 from the free throw line, including a late miss by Anthony on the front end of a 1-and-1 with the Spiders trailing by three that proved costly. The overall support of the student section could have been better, given the magnitude of tonight’s game. Don’t get me wrong, the Richmond Rowdies were as loud and spirited as always and the stands weren’t empty. But how can the students storm the court for a win over a UMass team that is currently beneath Richmond in the A-10, and not pack the stands for one of Richmond’s final home games that could determine its NCAA fate?
Up Next: Richmond hosts La Salle, which reached the Sweet 16 last year but has had a disappointing season, on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.