The University of Richmond men's basketball team opened the new Robins Center with a 71-69 win over the University of Delaware.
It was the Spiders 14th season in a row winning its opening game. Despite some shooting woes throughout the contest, two free throws down the stretch from junior Kendall Anthony won the game for the Spiders.
The game was locked at 69-69 with 30 seconds left when the Blue Hens Jarvis Threatt missed two free throws to give the Spiders the ball with a chance to win.
After a broken possession, the Spiders retained the ball with a baseline out-of-bounds with 2.3 seconds left.
Anthony was fouled before the ball was inbounded and knocked down the pressure free throws. The Blue Hens were able to get off a half court shot at the buzzer that clanged off the back rim giving Richmond the win.
The Spiders shot 66 percent from the free throw line but Anthony was able to convert when it counted.
"I just felt like the game was on me," Anthony said. "I felt like I knew I had to make it so I just focused on those two free throws and I ended up knocking them down."
After a back-and-forth first half, the Spiders led the Blue Hens 32-31. The half saw three lead changes and was tied six different times.
The Spiders were not able to get it going from beyond the arch in the first half. The team shot a combined 0-10 from three-point range.
Senior guard Cedrick Lindsay and sophomore forward Alonzo Nelson-Ododa led all scorers with nine points apiece in the opening half.
Marvin King-Davis led the Blue Hens in scoring in the first half with eight points from the free throw line.
The shooting woes continued for the Spiders in the second half but good defense and fast breaks led to a 13-4 run in the first three minutes of the half.
The Blue Hens were able to regain the lead with about five minutes left in the game but a late Spider run tied the game at 69.
Lindsay led all scorers with 20 points on eight of 12 shooting from the field. Nelson-Ododa provided a strong presence inside all game long, finishing with 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
"Other guys stepped up big tonight," Lindsay said. "They helped me in my role as well as I would like to think I helped them. Hats off to everybody on our team tonight, everybody played great tonight."
Devon Saddler led the Blue Hens with 17 points in the game. Despite the late misses at the free throw line, Threatt finished with 14 points.
The Spiders shot 3-19 from the three-point line and 18-27 from the free throw line in the game, but they were able to hit the shots when they mattered.
"We didn't shoot the ball well," coach Chris Mooney said. "We're probably always going to be a pretty good shooting team but I don't think we are an excellent shooting team this year. But we had enough good looks."
This season the National Collegiate Athletic Association made rule changes regarding foul calls on ball handlers. Fouls on and off the ball will be called more frequently in an effort to increase scoring and freedom of movement.
The Blue Hens reached the free throw line 37 times compared to the Spiders' 27. But Mooney remains a proponent of the rule changes, he said.
"It's going to make for some long and choppy games," Mooney said. "But ultimately I think it's the best thing for college basketball."
The Spiders will return to action on the Robins Center 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11 against Belmont University.
\0x200B"The biggest thing for us was the support that come out tonight," Lindsay said. "Everyone came out to support us and you couldn't ask for a better crowd tonight."
Contact staff writer Oliver Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org