Richmond's loss to James Madison Friday night was determined in the last seven minutes of the game, when the Dukes outscored Richmond 21-8.
In the first half both teams came out firing from the 3-point range. JMU was six of 10, while Richmond was three of 10. Junior guard ShawnDre’ Jones was able to spread the defense with his ability to knock down two crucial 3-pointers, which opened up lanes for senior forward Terry Allen to maneuver into. Allen showed an aggressiveness by driving through every gap he saw and splitting two or three defenders with each drive.
Richmond had the opportunity of a timeout situation just before the half to extend their lead. But a wild and out-of-control shot from well beyond the 3-point line was the difference between a one-possession and two-possession lead.
The back-and-forth style of play continued for the majority of the second half, as spurts of energy came and went for each team. The play of the night came from redshirt freshman guard Kwan Fore, who dribbled past his defender before rising for a dunk that brought the Robins Center to its feet.
“We were able to score,” head coach Chris Mooney said of his team's 87-75 loss. “But we weren’t able to stop them. In the second half when we did stop them, or make them miss, they got offensive rebounds.”
Richmond’s defensive pressure didn’t disrupt JMU’s game plan to be patient and take the right shots, senior guard Ron Curry of JMU said. In the second half. The Dukes shot 50 percent from the 3-point point line and Richmond gave them free reins on the boards, which ultimately led to easy and uncontested second-chance shots. Curry and Shakir Brown were an unstoppable duo for the Dukes, with 19 and 20 points.
"We just have to re-group and get back in practice and work on that," Jones said of his team's defense. "We can't allow 87 points on any night. That's not what we usually do."
JMU was relatively close to having as many offensive rebounds as Richmond did total rebounds. Richmond pulled down 23 rebounds while JMU grabbed 40. Sixteen of those were offensive.
“They just have a beautiful offensive stat sheet," Mooney said. "Fifty-one percent shooting, 11 made threes, 16 offensive rebounds and only 11 turnovers." It was surprising that Richmond did not do enough defensively to give the Spiders the opportunity to win the game, he said.
Despite going scoreless in the last nine minutes of the game, Allen had 27 points, seven rebounds and three steals. For the first 31 minutes, Allen was all over the court. He was in the passing lanes getting deflections, absorbing hits while still finishing shots and making a statement that he came to play this season.
After the under eight-minute media timeout, which the Spiders went into with a one-point edge, Richmond could not find a way to score. Allen was faced with hard double teams every time he got the ball in the paint with no room for him to spin off his defenders and get to the rim.
Offensively, the Spiders have many threats. In addition to Allen, Jones who had 14 points and redshirt junior T.J. Cline had 13.
In a quick turn-a-round weekend, Richmond will return to the Robins Center at 5 p.m. Sunday to play Stetson.
Contact sports assistant Olivia Healy at email@example.com