Final Score: University of Richmond- 62, Wake Forest University- 60
What Happened: Richmond remained undefeated at home with its second straight nail-biter, winning a battle of free throws and clutch shots in the final minutes. The game was tied with 1:10 left to go in the game before UR guard Kendall Anthony made a three-pointer in the right corner to give Richmond the lead for good. Anthony was 1-7 shooting before that make. The Spiders threatened to run away from Wake Forest in the second half, going ahead by 9 points with about 11 minutes remaining, but a quick 8-0 run by the Demon Deacons kept the game close the rest of the game, with the teams exchanging one-point leads until Anthony's three. Richmond forward Derrick Williams had arguably the best game of his Spider career, scoring a career-high 26 points (13-15 FT's) to go with 10 rebounds, his second straight double-double. Williams's effort silenced, for the moment, critics who argued Richmond was soft inside after William & Mary was able to dominate inside in Richmond's victory over the Tribe on Wednesday. Richmond's leading scorer for the season, Darien Brothers, struggled for the first time at home this season, finishing with 5 points on 1-7 shooting. His made shot was on the first possession of the game.
Spider Positives: Williams proved his power could overcome his height deficiency against big-time opponents and highly recruited big men. The free throw shooting, especially down the stretch (made 17-18 in second half) when it mattered most, was also a huge positive for the Spiders. There are teams at the college level who can't win close games late because of poor free throw shooting, but Richmond doesn't appear to have that problem. Anthony proved he still has ice water in his veins, not hesitating on his big three-pointer despite missing all of his previous four attempts from behind the arc in the game. Also, while it's never good to have a star player struggle, being able to win without much contribution from Brothers could help Richmond later in the season.
Spider Negatives: While this is an ACC school, Wake Forest is very young, playing five freshmen at the same time often during the course of the game. So, while it's always a bit eye-opening when a mid-major beats a top-conference school, this close win needs to be kept in perspective. Also, Richmond needs to learn how to extend leads when it gets the chance. The Spiders can't continue to rely on late-game heroics as they have these past two games now. And, even with Williams's dominant performance, Richmond was still outscored, 26-20, in the paint.
Up Next: The Spiders will travel to Norfolk, Va., on Tuesday to take on the Old Dominion Monarchs. Tipoff for that game is set for 7 p.m., and it provides another chance for the Spiders to get a win that may impress to NCAA tournament selection committee come March.
Contact staff writer David Weissman at firstname.lastname@example.org
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