First-half score: Richmond - 23, La Salle - 24
Analysis: Richmond shot 25 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes and trail La Salle, 24-23, at the half. Richmond's backcourt of Kendall Anthony and ShawnDre' Jones combined to shoot 3-15. Richmond's defense, however, made up for its poor offense, forcing La Salle into 32 percent shooting. In the game's opening 6:30, Richmond made one of its first eight shots -- a 3-point by Nelson-Ododa -- and the Explorers made two of their first fourteen shots. La Salle broke out of its quick slump and Tyrone Garland sparked an 8-2 Explorer run over a two-minute span to take a 12-7 lead. La Salle's Jerrel Wright, a 6-foot-8-inch 255 pound forward, came into the today averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds over his past three games, and he kept his hot streaking going early scoring four points and grabbing eight rebounds in the opening nine minutes. La Salle, as a whole, dominated the glass early, out-rebounding Richmond 15-9 in the first 10 minutes, and grabbing six offensive rebounds. Regardless, Richmond hung tight, and four quick Kendall Anthony points cut La Salle's lead to 15-14 midway through the half, and the score remained tight for the remainder of the half. Richmond's rebounding improved in the final 10 minutes, and the Explorers hold an 25-22 rebounding advantage at the half.
What to look for in the second half: I really can't see Richmond's backcourt struggling the way it did in the first half again in the second half. Anthony and Jones are too good of shooters to shoot 3-15 in the second 20 minutes. Richmond will need its backcourt, especially Anthony, the team's leading scorer and leader, to find their touch in the second half of, what I consider, a must-win game for the Spiders. After struggling to rebound early, Richmond's front court played tough in the half's final 10 minutes. The Spiders even hold an 8-7 offensive rebounding advantage at the half, and did not concede an offensive rebound in the last 10 minutes. If Richmond's bigs continue to rebound as efficiently as they did in the last few minutes, I think the guards will be able to score enough points to help Richmond pull out the victory.
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