Richmond muscled out a victory over George Washington Saturday afternoon in front of a sellout crowd, avenging a double overtime loss it suffered at the Colonials in January.
Four Spiders scored nine or more points as it held on for the 56-48 win. T.J. Cline led the Spiders with 16 points, and ShawnDre’ jones added 14. Richmond hit six 3-pointers to George Washington’s two.
But it was at the other end of the floor where Richmond secured the win.
Richmond (15-12, 8-6) forced George Washington (17-10, 7-7) into committing 14 turnovers, and the Colonials shot just 39 percent from the field, as they scored below 50 points in a game for just the second time this season. Kethan Savage and Kevin Larsen combined to score 34 points, but the rest of the Colonials shot just 4-23 from the field.
Larsen, however, did not dominate the glass like he usually does against the Spiders. He averaged 9.7 rebounds in the three previous games he’s played against Richmond, but he grabbed only three rebounds today. George Washington out-rebounded Richmond, 32-31, but the Spiders grabbed 14 offensive rebounds to the Colonials’ nine.
Richmond head coach Chris Mooney said the rebounding battle had been his biggest fear coming into the game.
“One thing we thought we might be able to do is get some offensive rebounds,” Mooney said. "Those were big for us. Points were hard to come by so anytime you had a second opportunity that was big.”
Richmond led 27-25 at the half, despite a poor shooting half from Kendall Anthony. Anthony scored four points on 2-9 shooting, but Cline and Jones each added eight.
Cline called Anthony a luxury, but today other Spiders were called upon to carry the scoring load.
“When [Anthony’s shots] aren’t falling, we know we need to pick it up, because he picks us up so often,” Cline said. “So when he’s not scoring we don’t lose all confidence.”
Richmond jumped out to an early 13-4 lead to start the game, in part because of its defensive pressure. The Colonials committed six early turnovers, but managed to settle down on offense, and chip into the Spiders lead.
Richmond’s first half lead could have been larger had George Washington not vastly outshot Richmond from the foul line. The Colonials made all 10 of their first half foul shots, while the Spiders shot an abysmal 3-8 from the line.
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A quick 8-1 spurt early in the second half gave the Spiders some breathing room, putting them up 35-28. An Anthony drive and layup followed a Cline 3-pointer, bringing the crowd to its feet, and Josh Jones hit a transition 3-pointer the next trip down the floor to force a George Washington timeout.
Anthony, who finished with nine points on 4-16 shooting, made his only 3-pointer midway through second half, which gave Richmond a 39-28 lead, its largest lead of the game.
While Richmond was cruising, George Washington couldn’t find any room in the Spiders matchup zone.
After tying the game at 27 early in the second half, George Washington went 6:28 before scoring another field goal. When Larson finally ended the drought, the Colonials trailed 39-30.
Just as the game felt like it was slipping out of the Colonials’ grasp, they began breaking into Richmond’s lead. Savage scored five straight points with around six minutes left which cut Richmond’s lead to two. Cline and Jones, however, proved to be too much for George Washington, and the two combined to score eight of Richmond’s final 10 points that followed Savage’s bucket.
Up next, Richmond will look to complete the season sweep against Virginia Commonwealth University when the Rams visit the Robins Center Wednesday night.
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