Senior forward TJ Cline made University of Richmond basketball history with the program's first triple-double when the team topped Duquesne 101–90 on Saturday.
Aside from Cline’s personal performance, the win was significant because it thrusted Richmond on top of the Atlantic-10 with a 7–2 record in conference play and a 13–8 record overall.
Cline finished the game with 32 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high 11 assists, helping Richmond overcome a second-half deficit. In the last five years, he is just the third person to have a 30-point triple-double (at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists) in NCAA Division I basketball.
“It’s an honor,” Cline said after the game. “It doesn’t just happen from one person. Guys were hitting shots tonight. So really, it’s a team triple-double. It’s really cool to be a part of this team and get that accomplishment.”
Cline was not the only player to shine in the high-scoring contest. Senior ShawnDre' Jones had 30 points, freshman Nick Sherrod added 12 and sophomore Julius Johnson had a personal-best 16 points.
Richmond dominated the game through offensive efficiency, shooting 53 percent from the field and producing a season-high 24 assists.
The game was not tight defensively, with both teams pouring in shots. This was in stark contrast to Richmond’s win over Rhode Island last Tuesday, which was a defensive battle.
Cline admitted that sometimes the team would miss assignments, especially since Duquesne had a style of play in which they always had one player in the corner that was a target shooter. This would draw out the defense and create openings, so they had to adjust.
“The win gives us the confidence to know that we can play both brands of basketball,” Cline said. “But of course we’d like to be clicking on offense and also play the defense we did the Rhode Island game as well.”
The Spider’s have been playing better basketball lately, coach Chris Mooney said. He pointed to the game against Davidson on Dec. 31 as the turning point.
“In the Davidson game we were confident throughout, and there was an energy that we had that was uncommon,” Mooney said. “Having TJ and ShawnDre' can keep things focused for us.”
He also said that although there were small mistakes from the younger players, Cline and Jones allowed the team to quickly reconcile those mistakes because of their experience.
The Spiders play at VCU Wednesday. VCU is currently 6–2 in conference play, and tied with Dayton for second place in the A-10 behind Richmond.
“Being 7–2 is nice,” Jones said. “But we’d really like to keep it rolling, be 8–2, 9–2 and 10–2. So we’re gonna lock in on practice this week and really get ready for the next game.”
Contact sports writer Mike Cronin at firstname.lastname@example.org