The Richmond Men’s Basketball team defeated the La Salle Explorers 81-74 Saturday afternoon, improving its record to 6-13.

The Spiders gained the momentum early after sophomore guard, Nick Sherod, narrowly avoided a team shot clock violation with an exciting 3-pointer on the game’s first play. Richmond went on take a 13-0 lead within the game’s first four minutes, creating lively and excited atmosphere in the Robins Center.

“Today the home team benefited in a big way from the crowd, the emotion and the energy,” Chris Mooney, Richmond head coach, said to reporters after the game.

La Salle fought back to cut to the deficit to 17-16 by the 10-minute mark. The game remained close throughout the first half with Richmond holding onto the led until La Salle scored to go up 34-32 with three minutes left in the period.

After a timeout, Richmond took the lead back immediately but they did not remain ahead for long. La Salle guard, Pookie Powell, hit a three-point buzzer beater, sealing a 41-40 La Salle lead heading into halftime.

La Salle had a strong offensive showing to begin the second half and led 52-42, their biggest advantage of the night, with 15:45 left on the clock.

Mooney said he was impressed by his team’s ability to not overact to their blown lead and keep level heads.

“They’re intense and into the game but they’re calm,” Mooney said. “There is a lot more maturity now with experience under our belts.”

Richmond rallied in the last 10 minutes and Sherod tied the game at 67 with a three-pointer with only 6:29 left in the game.

The young Spiders also showed a lot of maturity and persistence on the defensive side of the court, Mooney said. 

The Richmond defense held La Salle forward, B.J. Johnson, who led the game overall with 27 points, to only three in the final nine minutes.

After La Salle came back to tie the game at 74, Sherod hit another three-pointer to take the lead for good.

Freshman guard Jacob Gilyard solidified the lead and eliminated any hope for a La Salle comeback with another three-pointer, his only attempt from behind the arc of the game, with only 25.4 seconds remaining. His shot gave the Spiders their decisive 7-point lead.

La Salle head coach, John Giannini, said the he blamed his team’s frustrating blown lead on their inability to properly guard Richmond’s long-range shooters.

“What do you think is going to happen when you let Richmond take open threes like that in the last ten minutes?” Giannini said.

La Salle’s record fell to 8-12 and they have only won one road game so far this season.

Sherod and freshman Grant Golden each had 18 points on the day, leading Richmond scorers.

The Spiders now have a three game winning streak and will travel to Pittsburgh to play Duquesne at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

Contact sports writer Andrew Wilson at andrew.wilson@richmond.edu.

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