Richmond basketball finished the non-conference portion of its schedule in sloppy fashion with a dismal display of rebounding in a loss to Texas Tech.
The Spiders (8-4) have been mediocre rebounders all season, but they were particularly awful on the glass against the Red Raiders, grabbing only 20 rebounds compared to 43 for Texas Tech. Richmond had only 13 defensive rebounds in the entire game, one fewer than Texas Tech’s 14 offensive rebounds. No Spider had more than four rebounds on the game, a baffling statistic considering only seven players received serious playing time in the 85-70 loss.
Fouls were also a problem for the Spiders in this game as Marshall Wood and Deion Taylor fouled out and three other Spiders had four fouls. With a thin bench, the starters had to play a little less aggressively on defense to avoid fouling out.
Texas Tech took advantage of its many opportunities at the line, making 22 of its 27 free throws while Richmond shot a paltry 10-21 on its foul shots. A better free throw percentage and a more under-control defensive effort, the Spiders would have given themselves a better chance. The more glaring issue though was the rebounding effort throughout the game.
This might just be an outlier. After all, this is only one game and Texas Tech (10-1) is a good team that rebounds the ball very well. The Spiders have outrebounded high-level competition like California, West Virginia and Northern Iowa throughout the season. Their rebounding margin per game coming into this contest was only -1.0, hardly ideal, but also not a major red flag. Richmond has twice as many wins as it does losses. Maybe this is just an overreaction.
But then again, maybe it isn’t. Rebounding isn’t the key to every game, but it could cost the Spiders precious wins in a deep Atlantic 10 Conference with the conference schedule about to start. Conference foes like George Mason and Dayton excel in this facet of the game while Richmond ranks a meager 11th out of 14th in the conference in rebounding margin. And against defensive stalwarts like Rhode Island and Fordham or on nights when the 3-pointers simply aren’t falling, rebounding becomes more important and then the Spiders could be in trouble.
The A-10 schedule starts this weekend for the Spiders with the first game coming against Saint Joseph’s on Saturday at the Robins Center. If Richmond’s offense is flowing, it is truly something to see. Players cut to all the right places, sharp passes fly around the perimeter and possessions often end in open shots. If not, it will be interesting to see whether the team will put forth the necessary performance against a Saint Joseph’s team that grabs five more rebounds per game than Richmond.