As if the University of Richmond men's basketball team needed to get any deeper, the return of senior forward Kevin Smith gave the Spiders a new dimension in their 82-71 victory against Charleston Southern University Sunday evening at the Robins Center.
Smith, a reserve defensive specialist, played his first game of the season and although his stats were modest (five points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals), he made his presence felt in other ways.
"I thought Kevin Smith really changed the game," Richmond coach Chris Mooney said. "His energy, his intensity really gave us a lift. He's been doing that since he arrived on campus [in 2007] so we're thrilled to have Kevin back."
For Smith it was a long-awaited return. He developed a stress fracture in his foot in August and sat on the bench as the Spiders started their season 2-1.
"When I went out in August, I was circling dates when I could be back," Smith said. "I just wanted to get back and help as much as possible."
Smith was on the floor for Richmond's 17-0 second half run that put the Buccaneers away. Charleston Southern pulled to 53-50 with 13:34 left in the second half but freshman Cedrick Lindsay hit a jumper to get the run started.
It wasn't until the end of the game with reserves playing for Mooney did the Buccaneers make a run. They ended the game on a 8-0 run but they came up well short.
Sophomore Darien Brothers scored a career-high 15 points on perfect shooting. He went 6-6 from the floor, including 3-3 behind the 3-point arc in his 20 minutes of play.
"I think this is definitely his coming out game," said senior Kevin Anderson about Brothers. "He's been doing well throughout the season but this is Darien Brothers right here."
The Spiders as a team shot well against Charleston Southern. They ended the game shooting 63.8 percent from the floor and had 17 assists on 30 baskets.
"I thought our execution was really good," Mooney said. "While we did shoot the ball great, I thought it was more a result of our execution."
The one area that still is a cause for concern for Richmond is its free-throw shooting percentage. It went 14-23 from the line on Sunday and entered the game shooting just 55.8 percent.
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A lack of made free throws hurt the Spiders in their last game at Iona University on Thursday. They went shot free throws at 50 percent in that 81-77 double-overtime loss.
"It's who's going to be taking them that's important and as a team can we make them at a better clip than we are right now," Mooney said. "It already cost us the other night and I hope we can continue to work on it and rectify it."
This was Richmond's first game of the Chicago Invitational Challenge. It will host Southern University on noon on Tuesday before heading to Chicago to play Wright State on Nov. 26.
Contact staff writer Andrew Prezioso at firstname.lastname@example.org
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