Final Score: Richmond 76 - Duquesne 64
What Happened: Terry Allen torched Duquesne, scoring a career-high 27 points and grabbing seven rebounds, as Richmond cruised to a 76-64 victory in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament. Kendall Anthony added 23 points in a game that the Spiders led for the final 35 minutes. Ovie Soko, the A-10's leading scorer, led the Dukes with 21 points and 13 rebounds, but received little help on the offensive end. Allen came out of the gate aggressively, as he carried Richmond to a 32-26 halftime lead. Alonzo Nelson-Ododa picked up two early fouls, but regrouped to finish with 13 points and seven rebounds. Four different Spiders hit a 3-pointer during an early 13-1 run that put Richmond up 19-7 early. Richmond then went cold, making only one field goal over a five-minute stretch, but continued to play great defense and maintain its comfortable lead. The Dukes cut Richmond's lead to four with fewer than three minutes left, but that would prove to be the closest Duquesne would get the rest of the way. Allen picked up where he left off to start the second half. He scored four points and swatted a Duquesne shot to Anthony, who finished an old-fashioned three-point play at the other end, as Richmond opened the half on a 9-0 run. The Spiders held the Dukes to four points in the first six minutes of the second half, opening up a 45-30 lead. Anthony later scored five straight points midway through the half, as Richmond opened up a 57-36 lead, its largest lead of the game. When Richmond coach Chris Mooney let Anthony rest, Duquesne cut Richmond's lead to nine with 1:19 left, but it was too little too late for the Dukes.
Spider Positives: Duquesne had no answer for Allen, who played his most complete game of the season. In addition to his career-high scoring night and seven rebounds, he dished out three assists, had three steals and blocked two shots that led to fast-break points. Allen has looked more confident of late, and Richmond will need him to continue his aggressive play when it takes on VCU tomorrow night. By pulling away early in the second half, Mooney was able to rest some of his players, such as Anthony, late in the game. Being able to both rest starters and pull out a relatively unemotional victory is extremely beneficial in a tournament where a team needs to prepare for its next game in less than 24 hours.
Spider Negatives: Nelson-Ododa found himself in early foul trouble once again. He picked up a soft second foul just 10 minutes into the first half. His early foul trouble did not hurt the Spiders, and he stayed out of serious foul trouble, but they will need him in the game tomorrow to protect the rim and keep VCU off the offensive glass. Richmond's 3-pointers fell, but the Spiders relied too heavily on the the three-point shot tonight. Richmond will need to focus more on attacking the basket rather than settling for jumpers to beat the Rams tomorrow night.
Up Next: The Spiders will play VCU for the third time this season at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow in the A-10 quarterfinals. The second-seeded Rams earned a bye to the quarterfinals.
Contact staff writer Jack Nicholson at firstname.lastname@example.org
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