Richmond was able to claw its way back from an 0–16 deficit, but couldn’t convert at the end of the game, losing to Old Dominion in a tight contest.
The game was reminiscent of last week’s, in which Richmond battled for a 72–69 win over VMI. This time, a lack of secondary scoring and a cold couple of minutes from the Spiders' two main producers thwarted their chances of starting the season 2–0 as they fell to Monarchs, 64–61.
TJ Cline and ShawnDre' Jones accounted for 41 points and 11 of Richmond's 14 assists in the game. Only one other player, guard Khwan Fore, had more than five points.
Coach Chris Mooney was unperturbed by the lack of production from his bench and supporting players, saying that the production would come once Richmond — which has several freshman in its lineup — got a few more games behind them.
Old Dominion used the young players' inexperience to its advantage, double-teaming Jones in the closing minutes, forcing him to take a contested shot or rely on his teammates and pass the ball. Jones chose the first option and ended up missing two opportunities to tie the game in the closing seconds. Cline also struggled late, and the Spiders didn’t score for the last five minutes of the game.
Cline took some responsibility for the loss and pointed to the 0–16 start as the killer rather than the cold-spell at the end. “The seniors need to have more intensity and preparation (to start out) and I think that’ll trickle down to the younger guys,” he said.
Though Old Dominion was able to slow Cline and Jones down at the end, both players dazzled as they brought Richmond back from the brink. Cline, usually the scorer and Jones, the distributor, switched roles several times when Cline delivered perfect passes through traffic to a cutting Jones. Cline finished the game with 18 points and seven assists and Jones led the team with 23 points.
Beside the strong play of his two seniors, Mooney found other positives to take away from the game and overall said he was heartened by the grit and determination his squad showed. “I’d like to go out and practice right now or play a game," he said. "I feel good about the team and the young guys.”
Richmond will face an 0–2 Robert Morris team on Sunday in the Robins Center.
Contact sports writer Mike Cronin at firstname.lastname@example.org