Two nights after a heartbreaking double-overtime loss when the Spiders’ season seemed to have gotten away, Kendall Anthony did his best Stephen Curry impression and sent the Davidson Wildcats back to Carolina with a loss.
In fact, Davidson coach Bob McKillop probably spent the bus ride home reminiscing about the days of Curry, wishing he still had his star point guard to save his team. But Curry has moved on to bigger and better things, and he was not available to help his alma mater against Richmond’s new all-time leader in 3-point field goals, Kendall Anthony.
Anthony, 5 feet 8 inches tall, played bigger than anyone else in the Robins Center on Saturday night and made seven 3-pointers to lead his team to an 89-63 dismantling of the Wildcats. After his third 3-point shot of the night, Anthony earned a standing ovation from the crowd for becoming Richmond’s all-time leader with 242 career 3-point field goals.
Although Anthony was the story of the night, some teammates shined almost as brightly. T.J. Cline scored 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting, and Terry Allen scored 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting. The Spiders altogether shot 57 percent from the field.
But even Cline deferred the spotlight to his point guard. Saturday night was Kendall Anthony’s night. He could enjoy his new spot in the history books and bask in his team’s rout of Davidson. But Anthony, being the humble player that he is, downplayed his accomplishment.
“It’s a blessing from God,” Anthony said of his record. “I’ve always had confidence that I could be a pretty good player, and I think I’ve had a pretty good career here.”
“Pretty good” is not the way most people who know Anthony would describe him. His coach Chris Mooney would likely refute that claim in favor of much higher praise.
Mooney called his point guard “the most self-motivated player that I’ve been around.” He also said Anthony was “special,” “incredible” and “one of the few people that’s so much younger than you that you admire.”
Although Anthony’s accomplishment was the story of the night, Richmond’s victory over Davidson was a close second. The Spiders scored a season-high 89 points and won by a season-high 26 points, but more importantly earned a signature victory that could turn their lackluster season around for good.
Richmond’s 57 percent field goal mark and 45 percent 3-point mark were the stats of the night, but those stats were only possible because of stout, active defense and constant ball movement. Richmond’s offense had 25 assists, and the defense forced Davidson into 12 turnovers, which led to 17 Richmond points and frustrated the Wildcat players and coaches.
McKillop thought his team made bad decisions because of Richmond’s fast start and style of play. It took the Spiders less than 10 minutes to build a 12-point lead, and consequently, the Wildcats began throwing errant passes, taking contested shots and committing unnecessary fouls.
The Spiders didn’t just start fast, though. They played fast the entire game. They hustled to loose balls, helped each other contest shots on defense and battled hard for every rebound.
The 26-point margin of victory can be attributed to both the Spiders’ effort and execution. Hustle and intensity must be present against a team as good as Davidson, but when Cline and Alonzo Nelson-Ododa are shooting 3-pointers smoother than butter, the Spiders are tough to beat.
With the win, Richmond is now 10-8 and 3-2 in the Atlantic 10. Davidson fell to 12-4, but the Wildcats are still in favorable position to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament come March.
The Spiders’ next game is Saturday, Jan. 24 in Dayton, Ohio, against the conference-leading Flyers.