The University of Richmond men's basketball team kept pace with rival VCU for 37 minutes of Wednesday night's game, but a Rams 14-3 run in the last three minutes of the game proved to be too much, and the Spiders lost, 93-82.
With the score tied at 79 with a little less than three minutes left in the second half, the VCU "Havoc" defense began to pressure the Spiders into turnovers, and the Rams capitalized on them.
The Rams' physical play affected the Spiders' offense for most of the game, but they did not seem to be flustered until the final minutes. Four quick baskets gave VCU an eight-point lead, and all the Spiders could do to remain competitive was foul.
"We are bitter rivals," junior guard Cedrick Lindsay said. "Of course, the game is going to be physical."
The Rams made eight of 10 free throws in the final three minutes to seal the victory in the game, during which the teams combined for 44 fouls and 37 free throw attempts. Foul trouble was a major issue for players of both teams, especially in the second half.
Both Spider big men, junior Derrick Williams and redshirt freshman Alonzo Nelson-Ododa, were called for their fourth fouls early in the second half, and were forced to play limited roles during the final minutes.
Both teams were in bonus by the 10-minute mark in the second half, a testament to the physical play on both sides of the ball.
The start of the game looked promising for the Spiders, as Lindsay and Nelson-Ododa helped Richmond jump out with a 21-12 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game. Throughout the rest of the half, though, the lead would sway back and forth before VCU took a 43-41 lead before halftime.
The second half saw more of the same type of play, as strong efforts from Nelson-Ododa and sophomore guard Kendall Anthony helped the Spiders keep up with the Rams, until the final minutes of the game.
"It was a tie game and they scored three or four times and we didn't calm down or relax the offense, which hurt us," Anthony said. "We matched every run during the game except at the end, and we just couldn't make shots."
For the first 37 minutes of the game, the score was very close, being tied nine times with 11 lead changes, but in the end, the Spiders were unable to keep up.
Lindsay led the team with 22 points, freshman Terry Allen added 13 and Nelson-Ododa and Anthony each scored 11.
A significant concern, the Spiders' 15 turnovers, led to 22 VCU points. The Rams' physical style of play and disruptive defense has been frustrating teams all season, and that remained true against the Spiders.
The loss takes the Spiders to 17-13 in the season and 7-8 in Atlantic 10 conference play. Richmond returns home to the Robins Center on Saturday to face the Duquesne Dukes on Senior Night, before preparing for the Atlantic 10 tournament next week.
Contact reporter JR Riddick at firstname.lastname@example.org