The force was with Richmond on Star Wars night in the Robins Center as the Spiders displayed complete focus and domination on both ends of the court against Longwood despite a full week of final exams.
“I thought our effort was very good,” Richmond coach Chris Mooney said. “During the middle of finals it’s obviously a challenge for everyone. I think we were a little bit sloppy at the end, but pleased with the win.”
The team had come out strong but didn’t finish particularly well. Forward Trey Davis said some of the players were tired after the week off and many of his teammates had stayed up late studying for exams.
Although some players will be back to the books this afternoon after last night’s win and will finish finals on Tuesday, they came out focused after a week without a game. “We had to put all of the distractions behind us and move on and have a good game,” forward T.J. Cline said.
All of the game's five lead changes occurred early in the first half of Richmond’s 77-59 win. Mooney said that toward the end of the first half, Richmond was passing well to find easy shots. It was a two-possession game for the first 12 minutes of the game, but in the last eight minutes Richmond scored 16 points and held Longwood to just two.
Five Spiders were in double figures this evening, led by Cline who had 18 points and six assists. His quick release has been difficult to defend all season, and shot blockers haven't been able to anticipate or react to his footwork and hook shots around the rim.
Senior forward Terry Allen had another impressive performance with 16 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Junior guard ShawnDre’ Jones, junior forward Marshall Wood and Davis were also in the mix with 12, 11 and 10 points respectively.
The ability to have five offensive threats has allowed the team to play freely rather than calling plays on each possession, Mooney said. When there is less movement and forced passes to Allen under the basket, the game becomes stagnant, he said.
More than 57 percent of Richmond’s points came from second-chance opportunities and Longwood turnovers. Richmond tallied 11 steals and forced 19 Longwood turnovers, 11 of which came in the first half. The steals were a result of active hands defensively for the Spiders.
Richmond held Longwood to just 22 points in the first half and although the Lancers started to make a run in the last eight minutes of the game, the deficit was too large to overcome. Both teams were hustling last night, with players diving for loose balls and chasing down rebounds, but Richmond consistently forced Longwood to alter its shots, and that was the main difference in the game.
With the Atlantic 10 schedule approaching quickly, Cline said that this non-conference schedule would prepare his team for how to play in tight games down the stretch in what he called one of the best conferences in the nation.
The Spiders will return to the Robins Center at 7 p.m. on Wednesday to face Old Dominion University.
Contact sports assistant Olivia Healy at firstname.lastname@example.org