Five George Washington University players scored in double figures as the Colonials bruised and bullied their way to a 73-65 victory in a game that had 14 lead changes Tuesday night at the Robins Center.
George Washington, which is second in the Atlantic 10 in team rebounding, grabbed 16 offensive boards and out-rebounded Richmond, which is last in the A-10 in rebounding, 45-33.
George Washington head coach Mike Lonergan was not surprised by his team’s success on the glass.
“I was hoping we could exploit that weakness even more,” Lonergan said.
Losing starting center Alonzo Nelson-Ododa to foul trouble early did not help. Richmond missed him terribly, coach Chris Mooney said.
“He’s our best interior defensive player,” Mooney said. “He’s one of the best defenders in the league. Him being out of the game so long really changes our defense.”
Indiana transfer Maurice Cheek led the Colonials with 16 points, and Kevin Larsen added 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Richmond’s offense came from an unlikely source, as ShawnDre’ Jones scored a career-high 25 points, 18 of which came in the second half. Jones, whose previous career high was 14 points, shot 10-14 from the field, including 5-8 on 3-pointers.
“He kind of makes things look easy,” Mooney said of Jones. “He has a really nice pace to his game.”
Although much of Richmond’s frontline struggled against the Colonials’ size, Terry Allen played one of his best games of the season, scoring 17 points and grabbing nine rebounds.
Richmond trailed for much of the first half until Kendall Anthony, who was held scoreless in the game’s first 15 minutes, scored seven quick points to give Richmond its first lead of the game. Anthony, who is the reigning A-10 player of the week, finished with 14 on 5-12 shooting.
George Washington tried to limit Anthony’s chances in transition and use its size against him when possible, Longeran said.
“I told our guys, ‘he’s gonna shoot,’” Lonergan said. “We just got to try and make sure they are contested or deep shots.”
Jones, who scored seven first-half points, hit a shot in the final seconds of the half, giving Richmond a 29-28 lead at the break.
The second half must have felt like déjà vu for Richmond, as Nelson-Ododa picked up a soft third foul seven minutes in, and the Colonials continued to pound the glass.
Jones kept the Spiders close, as he scored 10 points in the half’s first eight minutes. He then scored five quick points with less than six minutes to play, which gave Richmond a 57-55 lead.
Jones hit his fifth and final 3-pointer, cutting George Washington’s lead to one, with less than three minutes to play. Richmond, however, would fail to score on its next three possessions, and the Colonials made enough foul shots in the final moments to close out the Spiders.
Richmond hosts La Salle, which reached the Sweet 16 last year but has had a disappointing season, at 4 p.m. Saturday.The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.