Final Score: University of Richmond- 73, Xavier University- 71
What Happened: Timely buckets by Richmond's Greg Robbins and Cedrick Lindsay, along with a few too many missed free throws by Xavier, turned a very hard-fought, close game in the Spiders' favor. After the Musketeers weathered Richmond's early storm of three-pointers in the first half, the rest of the game was back and forth with the lead changing 15 times to go with the 9 ties. The Spiders were down, 59-58, when Robbins hit a three, followed quickly by a Xavier turnover and a spectacular three-point play by Lindsay. Richmond led from that point on, though Xavier freshman Semaj Christon had a couple chances to tie it with free throws down the stretch. Ironically, the game's leading scorer, Xavier's Travis Taylor (24 pts), who missed four free throws earlier, couldn't miss when he needed to, twice making free throws it looked like he was trying to miss with his team down two points and time getting closer to zero. Meanwhile, Richmond made all the free throws it needed to make, and UR coach Chris Mooney learned from VCU coach Shaka Smart's mistake last Thursday, as Mooney elected to foul with his team up three and time winding down.
Spider Positives: Though I doubt Mooney wanted this game to come down to a free-throw shooting contest (UR made five more than Xavier on the same amount of shots), he's got to be proud that his team had enough mental toughness to keep knocking them down. Also, it's nice for Spider fans to look at the stats and see five guys in double figures scoring -- Robbins, Lindsay, Kendall Anthony, Darien Brothers and Alonzo Nelson-Ododa. Offensive balance has often been a trouble spot for the Spiders, too often relying on Brothers and Anthony. Nelson-Ododa in particular had a big game overall, totaling 13 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks. Also, the Spiders were able to adjust their defensive effort against Taylor, after the Xavier big man scored 15 points in the first half, getting him into foul trouble.
Spiders Negatives: The overall defensive effort for Richmond wasn't very impressive, as the Musketeers shot 60 percent from the field and were still able to somehow out-rebound the Spiders, 27-21. Xavier also held a huge lead in points in the paint, 40-14. Richmond clearly misses the presence of Derrick Williams, who's missed nine game now since suffering his leg injury.
Up Next: The Spiders get a week to rest before coming back next Saturday for another A-10 home game against Saint Louis, a team many analysts predicted in the pre-season would win the conference this year. Williams may be back for Richmond. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.
Contact staff writer David Weissman at firstname.lastname@example.org