Sophomore Kevin Anderson scored 15 of his team-leading 17 points during the first half to propel the University of Richmond men's basketball team to a season-opening 81-57 victory over Randolph-Macon College.
"We were just so hyped to come out and start the season," Anderson said.
The Spiders, who played in front of 5,415 people at the Robins Center, were never behind during the game and took the lead for good with a layup by senior Jarhon Giddings with 17 minutes, 50 seconds left in the first half. The Spiders' largest lead was 28 points with 2:03 left in the game.
Randolph-Macon, a Division III school, came into the season-opener after a 73-72 victory over George Mason University during an exhibition game on Nov. 5.
"We knew they beat George Mason," Anderson said. "We watched film on that game. George Mason is a good team, and if they could beat George Mason, they could beat us."
The next game was a bigger challenge for the Spiders, when they traveled to Syracuse University's Carrier Dome on Tuesday. The Orange are expected to be a contender for the Big East Championship this season.
"We know Syracuse is a national power," Richmond coach Chris Mooney said. "[Randolph-Macon] played with a fearlessness tonight that we need to copy in Syracuse."
Four Richmond players scored in double figures, including Anderson. Redshirt freshman Josh Duinker added 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds off of the bench, while junior Ryan Butler added 12 in a reserve role. Junior David Gonzalvez finished the game with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Two true freshmen and two redshirt freshmen got playing time. Duinker had the biggest contribution of the four, but true freshman Francis Cedric Martel added six points and six rebounds in 15 minutes.
Redshirt freshman Conor Smith scored on one of five three-point attempts to finish his first career game with three points. Darrius Garrett, a true freshman, logged three minutes of playing time at the end of the game.
"Everybody wants to play guys early," Mooney said. "The way we play is given to versatility. We are still a little on the young side. Getting [the freshmen] in was important. We didn't want to short-change them."
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Richmond connected on nearly 40 percent of its three-point attempts, making nine of 23. This year, the three-point arc was moved back one foot to a distance of 20 feet, 9 inches.
Mooney was concerned before the game with Randolph-Macon guard Justin Short. Short, considered one of the best guards in Division III basketball, finished with 16 points after being guarded by Anderson most of the night.
"We knew we needed to be aware of him," Mooney said. "The biggest thing is stopping him in transition. If they get transition, it gets really hard to stop them."
Mike Rhoades, Randolph-Macon's coach, was given a technical foul with 8:44 left in the game after arguing a palming foul called against one of his players. Anderson made the two ensuing free-throws.
Overall, Mooney said he was pleased with his team's performance.
"We were able to score in a variety of ways," he said. "We shared the ball well tonight. Our defense was decent, but we still need to improve."
The win versus Randolph-Macon gave the Spiders confidence heading into their meeting with Syracuse, a 76-71 loss on Tuesday. The 6 p.m. game was nationally televised on ESPN.
"[We are] very confident," Anderson said. "We are the underdogs, so we got nothing to lose."
Contact reporter Andrew Prezioso at firstname.lastname@example.org
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