The Collegian
Wednesday, October 05, 2022

2nd half adjustments lead to Spider win over Charlotte

The University of Richmond men's basketball team allowed the University of Charlotte to score only 25 points during the second half en route to a 65-58 Spider home victory on Feb. 21.

During the first half, Charlotte connected on more than 46 percent of its shots to take a 33-29 lead into halftime. But Richmond coach Chris Mooney made adjustments during the break to try to limit the scoring by the 49ers.

"In the half-court, we talked about being closer to our man," Mooney said. "They shot very well in the first half. [We talked about] being closer to our man, not giving up as many threes. I think we must have blocked a couple threes in the second half.

"But we also pressed. I think the press helped to change the game a little bit. We got a couple of turnovers, a ten-second call. I think those things really ignited us or energized us and helped us build some momentum."

The adjustments worked, and Charlotte made only 28.6 percent of its shots during the second half. The biggest difference came from Richmond's defense beyond the three-point arc. During the first half, the 49ers made six out of 11 three-pointers, but made only 25 percent of those shots during the second half.

"We tried to make every shot tough for them, especially [senior Lamont Mack]," sophomore Kevin Anderson said. "We let him get off some easy shots early. Once you get some easy shots early, it's easy to get going. We just tried to contest every shot he took from then on out, as well as (junior Ian) Anderson and the rest of the team."

Junior Ryan Butler created the "play of the game" with his hustle, Mooney said. With Richmond trailing by one, Butler dove for a loose ball at mid-court along with a 49er player. Butler was able to keep the ball alive while Anderson raced in to get possession. Anderson then drove to the basket and was fouled on his lay-up attempt. He made one of the two free throws to tie the game with 12:57 remaining.

After that free throw, Richmond never trailed again.

Anderson led Richmond on offense with 19 points, one game after scoring 38 during a victory at La Salle University on Feb. 18. He missed about eight minutes of the game early during the first half when he injured his shoulder while trying to swat the ball out of the hands of a Charlotte player.

The injury may have slowed him down during the first half -- he had only four points and five turnovers at the break. He came out strong during the second half and scored 14 points and did not turn the ball over again.

It was a back-and-forth game with no team taking a lead larger than 10 -- which came inside the last minute for Richmond. The teams traded the lead five times, and the game was tied six times.

All nine Spiders who saw playing time scored a basket, even though the team struggled with its shooting. Richmond shot 39 percent from the field and was only 25.9 percent on its three-point shots.

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"I assume [having every player score is] what every team wants, but certainly that's what we want," Mooney said. "We want to have guys versatile enough to score and we want to share the ball well enough that we are all able to score. I thought we did do that tonight. We didn't shoot great ... but guys were getting buckets in different ways."

Charlotte's Mack came into the game as the Atlantic 10 Conference's player of the week and certainly proved he was worthy of the honor. He scored 22 points and had 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the year.

Richmond improved to 14-13 with the win and evened up its A-10 record at 6-6. The Spiders play next at Fordham University on Feb. 25. The last time the Spiders were at .500 in the A-10 was on Jan. 31, after losing to Temple University on the road.

Fordham is last in the A-10 with a 1-10 conference record and a 3-20 record overall. But that doesn't necessarily guarantee a victory for Richmond.

"I think anybody can beat anybody," Mooney said. "We need to remind our guys that they don't have a good record and they haven't been very successful, but that doesn't matter in college basketball. You look around the landscape of college basketball and anybody can beat anybody, especially on the home floor. It's very important for us to go up there and play well and play very aggressively."

Contact staff writer Andrew Prezioso at andrew.prezioso@richmond.edu

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