Final Score: University of Richmond- 68, Hampton University- 58
What Happened: Richmond received its first real challenge of the season after blowing out its first two opponents. The game was very physical, especially in the first half, when the teams totaled 21 fouls between them. The Spiders and Pirates exchanged the lead several times in the first half and the game was tied at 20 with about seven minutes remaining in the period. That's when Richmond took control, going on a 11-0 run to take the lead, and the Spiders never let go of that lead. Hampton pulled to within three points early in the second half, but UR was able to extend its lead back out to as much as 18, mostly thanks to Hampton fouls putting Spider players on the free throw line consistently. For the third straight game, UR senior guard Darien Brothers led all scorers. Freshman starter Alonzo Ododa-Nelson had his best game offensively, making his first two three-pointers of his career.
Spider Positives: Brothers further established himself as the team's leader, which the Spiders need him to be throughout the season if they're going to make a serious run at an A-10 title. The team as a whole was able to prove it could respond to adversity for the first time this season, not showing any signs of worry early in the game when Hampton was hanging around. This win also serves as the third straight game Richmond has held its opponent under 60 points. It's becoming more apparent that this group could turn into a better team defensively than it was last season with its young, athletic, long-armed forwards -- Ododa-Nelson, Trey Davis, Deion Taylor and Terry Allen.
Spider Negatives: Forwards Derrick Williams and Ododa-Nelson got into early foul trouble and eventually fouled out. In that short amount of time that they were out, Richmond struggled to keep Hampton off the offensive glass. Another more looming problem is the lack of scoring options presenting themselves besides Brothers. We know from last season that Kendall Anthony, Cedrick Lindsay and Williams all are capable of putting up big offensive numbers, but we haven't necessarily seen that this season. Once Richmond starts facing more established opponents, Brothers will be keyed upon, and the Spiders will need other players to step up. If it's not one of the aforementioned trio, Davis is the only other one that's looked capable of creating his own shot.
Up Next: The Spiders hit the road for the first time this season to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers this Sunday. The game will serve as Richmond's first chance to pick up a win that might impress the NCAA tournament selection committee at the end of the season, as Minnesota comes from the Big 10 conference. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
Contact staff writer David Weissman at firstname.lastname@example.org
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