Despite a career-high 29 points from Cedrick Lindsay, University of Richmond fell to No. 24 University of North Carolina in the first semifinal of the Hall of Fame Tipoff at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. on Saturday.
Richmond head coach Chris Mooney said his team had needed to make a few more plays to win, but it never felt overmatched.
UNC guard Marcus Paige had a career-high 26 points and freshman Brice Johnson, whose previous career-high was 14 points, added 24 points and 11 rebounds as UNC was able to slowly pull away late in the game to get the win.
Much of Richmond's offense came from Lindsay. Kendall Anthony, who shot 4-12 from the field, was the only other Spider to score in double figures with 13 points.
Mooney said before the season that Lindsay had been one of the best point guards in the country.
"I thought [Lindsay] came into the game confident and aggressive, knowing he belongs on the court with anybody," Mooney said.
"We couldn't keep him in front of us," UNC head coach Roy Williams said. " He really is a good, good player."
Richmond's defense held forward James Michael McAdoo to a season-low nine points. Williams credited the defense of Richmond's frontcourt.
"They're really alert, really active defensively," Williams said.
UNC looked like it was going to pull away with the win at different points in the second-half, but Richmond's sound foul shooting helped keep the game close until the end. The Spiders shot 21-29 on their free throws.
UNC, who has struggled from the line at times this season, also made its foul shots. The Tar Heels shot 26-37 from the line.
Lindsay scored eight points in the first five minutes and Alonzo Nelson-Ododa scored on consecutive post moves as Richmond raced out to a 17-8 lead early in the half.
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Richmond led for most of the first half but a pair of made free throws from Paige gave the Tar Heels their first lead with 37 seconds left in the half. UNC led 36-33 at the half.
UNC opened the second half in a 3-2 zone and switched between zone and man defense during the half. The Tar Heels are the third consecutive team to use a zone against the Spiders, which can be attributed at least in some part to Richmond's struggles in its three-point shooting.
"We have been working on zone more this year than any team I've ever had," Williams said.
Richmond came into the game shooting 19 percent on its three-point shots and finished the game 7-22 from three. The Spiders made four of its first six 3-pointers, but went 3-16 from there.
Mooney called a timeout four minutes into the second half as the Tar Heels extended their lead to 47-40, but a 7-0 run by the Spiders tied the game at 51 midway through the half.
Richmond trailed 66-62 with four minutes remaining, but six quick UNC points increased its lead to 72-62 with 1:36 remaining, and the Tar Heels were able to hold on to the victory.
Richmond will play the loser between No. 3 Louisville and Fairfield Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
Contact reporter Jack Nicholson at firstname.lastname@example.org
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