In their first matchup in 59 years, the University of Richmond men's basketball team defeated the Belmont University Bruins, 69-61 Monday night in the Robins Center.
When the two teams last met in Richmond in 1954, the Spiders beat the Bruins, 115-73. The Bruins, last year's Ohio Valley Conference champions, had trouble matching the Spiders' swarming defense all game.
The Spiders forced the Bruins, who have appeared in six of the last eight National Collegiate Athletic Association tournaments, into 16 turnovers. The Bruins have added nine newcomers to a program that was seeded 11th in last season's NCAA tournament.
"Winning them early like this kind of helps us know we've already been in games like this," senior Cedrick Lindsay said. "We're learning early and that's good for us."
Sophomore Terry Allen had a game-high 16 points for the Spiders. Allen added seven rebounds in 30 minutes of action.
"I've said I believe he is going to be a great player," coach Chris Mooney said of Allen. "I think we're starting to see just his versatility and his ability to score inside, outside and handle the ball."
After an up-and-down first half of play, the Spiders led the Bruins 34-31. The Bruins turned the ball over 10 times in the half, which led to 11 points for the Spiders. For the second consecutive game, the Spiders limited their first-half turnovers, only surrendering the ball three times in the half.
Junior guards Wayne Sparrow and Kendall Anthony paced all Spider scorers in the half with nine points each on a combined eight of 15 shooting performance. Allen was not far behind with eight points and two rebounds in the half.
The Bruins' forward Nick Smith led all scorers in the first half of action shooting a perfect percentage from the field for 10 points. Both teams recorded a field-goal percentage over 50 in the opening half.
The second half started out sloppy, but five straight points from Cedrick Lindsay seven minutes into the half put them up by 13, and the Spiders never looked back. Lindsay, senior point guard, scored all 15 of his points in the second half, going 11-13 from the free throw line.
"I kind of got down on myself a little bit," Lindsay said. "Then Kendall and Terry and the rest of the guys just kind of picked me up in the locker room and told me we've got another half to play and we're going to need you."
The Bruins snuck back into the game late and cut the Spider lead to four before redshirt-sophomore Trey Davis' and-one with just over a minute to go put the Spiders up seven and the game out of reach.
To go along with the pivotal three-point play, Davis controlled the glass with 11 rebounds, three of them coming on offense. Davis, at 6 foot 5 inches, is averaging 10 rebounds per game to start the season.
"Obviously I thought Trey Davis was tremendous," Mooney said. "His rebounding, his defense, his sense, his aggression. I thought he was really key in the game."
For the second game in a row, the Spiders struggled from the three-point line shooting just 3-21 from behind the arch. However, the Spiders again found a way to win; getting stops on the defensive end in key moments was the way tonight.
"I'm as surprised as anybody that we haven't shot better," Mooney said. "But I'm confident that we will and sometimes it happens. I don't know if it's because it's the beginning of the year or because we haven't gotten good enough shots."
The Spiders return to the Robins Center for a third straight home game 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16 against the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.
"It'll be interesting because it's a rare road game for Minnesota this early in the season," Mooney said. "I hope we have a great crowd and can really just kind of build off that excitement and enthusiasm that we have a Big 10 [conference] team in the building."
Contact staff writer Oliver Murphy at email@example.com