The Spiders were unable to hang on late and lost in a close game against the James Madison Dukes on Sunday.
In the last two minutes of the game, momentum shifted in favor of the Dukes after 15 lead changes throughout a physical and defensive effort from both teams. James Madison pulled away in the closing moments of the game to win 51-46.
At the end of the first half, Richmond and James Madison headed into their respective locker rooms tied at 24.
Empty possessions for both teams in the beginning of the second half worked in James Madison’s favor. A pull-up jumper from a Dukes player in the last two minutes of the game helped them secure the lead.
Senior guard Kendall Anthony was the only Spider who scored in double figures. He had 16 points, 13 of which came in the first half. Sophomore guard ShawnDre’ Jones had nine points despite shooting 23 percent from the field, but was able to dish out three assists.
Richmond basketball head coach Chris Mooney told Spider TV that JMU had paid extra attention to Anthony on offense in the second half, as he was always accounted for by one or two players.
James Madison’s size around the perimeter and pressure in the half court set made it difficult for the Richmond guards to shoot uncontested shots or penetrate the lanes.
The Spiders were unable to get comfortable because of the Dukes’ effective zone, which kept Richmond off-balance throughout the course of the game, Mooney said.
The Dukes dominated the paint and rebounded the ball exceptionally well in both halves. They led the rebounding battle 39 to 27. James Madison scored 40 of its 51 points in the paint, and was also able to score 12 points from second chance opportunities.
“We feel like we’re an athletic team and a physical team, and so to surrender that many points in the paint, I think we can do a much better job than that,” Mooney said.
Despite the Dukes’ inability to make free throws in the final possessions, the Spiders could not take advantage offensively. They were unable to make a field goal in the final four minutes, which allowed the Dukes to pull away.
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t take more advantage of our opportunities, and we’ll try to work on that for the future,” Mooney told Spider TV.
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The Spiders are 0-4 on the road, but Mooney said the team would continue to work hard and “find some toughness and find some grit that we can use as a foundation to win some games.”
The Spiders (3-4) will return home to face Howard at 6 p.m. next Saturday.
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