On the first play of the game, senior point guard Kevin Anderson found a slimmed-down Dan Geriot open for a 3-pointer across the court. Geriot hit it with ease and with that, the rout was on just 26 seconds into the game.
The University of Richmond defeated an out-skilled Citadel team, 79-37, to win its season-opener on a night when a banner commemorating its 2010 NCAA Tournament berth was unveiled before the game.
The starting line-up for the Spiders was slightly different than last year's tournament team. Although sophomore Darien Brothers and junior Francis-Cedric Martel started in place of David Gonzalvez and Ryan Butler, Richmond was able to carry over its stingy defense that was the trademark of last year's team.
"We did a very good job of getting on the 3-point shooters and not letting them get into a rhythm," Richmond coach Chris Mooney said. "[Citadel's] Cameron Wells is a great player and we weren't able to stop him for the whole game and didn't think we would have been able to, but we were able to guard their shooters and make sure they didn't get any open looks."
Part of that pressure was Richmond's ability to get a hand in the passing lane. Although Richmond stole the ball eight times, the pressure affected The Citadel's ability to get the ball to the open player before a Spider was able to close on him.
Wells scored 17 of the Bulldogs 37 points as he got virtually no help from any other player. Take Wells out of the shooting statistics for the Bulldogs and they went 7-41 from the floor and just 2-14 from 3-point distance.
As good as the Spiders were on the defensive end, they matched that intensity on offense. For the game, the Spiders hit on 31 of their 54 shots and added 11 3-pointers.
Senior forward Justin Harper led Richmond's balanced attack with 18 points in just 19 minutes. The starters were held back in the second half as Richmond ended the first half with a 42-16 lead.
With the easy win and his teammates taking care of the scoring, senior point guard Kevin Anderson — a potential All-American — did not have to take over the game as he had to do countless times last year. He played just 21 minutes and had only six points (down from his 17.8 average last year) but did have an impact with five assists.
"I think that's when we are going to be at our best, when I don't have to score the 25 or 30 points or just unbelievable numbers like that," Anderson said. "We're going to be good when everybody's playing [well]. We had great energy tonight and we're definitely going to be at our best if we have games like that."
Richmond fans can be forgiven though if they think that Anderson played more than he did. Freshman Cedrick Lindsay, a 6-1 point guard from Washington D.C., played 22 minutes and scored 10 points. But it was the way that he was able to pass the ball and get four assists that had players talking after the game.
"He can pass the ball, he's fast and he has a nice pull-up and he just has a good sense for the game," said Anderson, who at 6-0 and 175 pounds is just slightly smaller than Lindsay. "He's a great player. He pushes me to play better out there. He's going to get better as the year goes on."
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Even Mooney was impressed by Lindsay's play. Although Mooney would not say whether Lindsay would receive as much playing time in the future, he praised Lindsay's maturity on the floor.
"He just seems much more experienced and seasoned than he is," Mooney said. "He's confident, he's strong, he's had success as a player [in high school] and I thought he had a great game tonight. I think maturity he already seems to have and he plays with a confidence beyond his years."
It was also the highly-anticipated debut of freshman Derrick Williams, a 6-9, 275 forward. He received a thunderous ovation from the 6,008 fans at the Robins Center when he first entered the game with 4:29 left in the first half and showed the crowd why he was such a prized recruit by going through two Citadel defenders to score his first career points on a layup with 15 seconds left in the first half.
Williams also showed nice range late in the second half with a 3-pointer for his only other points in his debut.
"Derrick actually made a couple in our scrimmages and can make 3-point shots," Mooney said. "He's probably better at some other things, but he's a skillful player."
Richmond now prepares for The College of William & Mary, who will visit the Robins Center at 7 p.m. on Monday night.
Contact staff writer Andrew Prezioso at email@example.com
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