The Spiders lost yet another home matchup against a conference opponent on Wednesday as they were outplayed by a struggling George Mason team.
From the opening tip, Richmond (11-10, 3-6 in the A-10) struggled to make shots against the Patriots (8-14, 2-7) and failed to adapt, putting forward a lackluster effort at both ends.
“They definitely had more energy than us, which should be unacceptable especially since we’re playing at home,” said senior guard Trey Davis of the loss.
Richmond only seemed to come alive at the game’s end, forcing turnovers and committing quick fouls to extend the game and get the deficit down to two points in the final seconds. It proved to be not enough though as the Patriots converted on their last two free throws to make it a two-possession game and seal a 78-74 win over the Spiders.
T.J. Cline played well, scoring 29 points on 10-14 shooting, but he was the only Spider to shoot better than 50 percent from the field, and a good chunk of his points came in what seemed like garbage time as the Spiders tried to close in late. Terry Allen added 16 points and nine rebounds, but overall, it was a very disappointing game for Richmond.
Shawndre’ Jones managed only six points on 2-11 shooting, missing on all three of his 3-point attempts. As a team, Richmond shot less than 39 percent from the field and a paltry 6-27 from beyond the arc, a number that reflects a rough shooting performance, but also some stubbornness. The Spiders continued to heave 3-pointers even after it was painfully obvious that it simply wasn’t their night from deep.
Richmond also struggled once again to rebound, losing that battle 47-33. Richmond hardly distinguishes itself in its efforts controlling the glass, but to be outrebounded by 14 against one of the weaker opponents in the conference is tough to swallow. The Patriots’ Shevon Thompson, despite being limited to 19 minutes by foul trouble, terrorized the Spiders inside, shooting a perfect 4-4 on his way to 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Richmond had a one-point lead at the half after Jones found Allen under the hoop for an open layup as time expired, but George Mason put together a 12-point run early in the second half that the Spiders never really fought back from.
For the Patriots, Jaire Grayer led the way with 20 points, attacking the basket with strong drives all game as well as knocking down three 3-pointers. Otis Livingston chipped in 18 points and five assists despite struggling from beyond the arc.
This marks the fourth loss in five home conference matchups for Richmond, an inexplicable number for a team that prides itself in playing well in front of the home crowd. Head coach Chris Mooney was unable to offer an explanation for the team’s poor performance at home during conference play.
“We’ve had good practices, we’ve had lots of energy, good enthusiasm, all of those things and so it is disappointing,” Mooney said of his team after the game.
Richmond will have another chance at home against a weak conference opponent this Saturday in its matchup with Massachusetts (9-12, 2-7). The Spiders still have time to turn their largely disappointing season around, but time is running out and each game becomes more important. With games against George Washington, Dayton, and VCU (undefeated in A-10 play) looming later in the season, this Massachusetts game seems to fall into the “must-win” category if the Spiders have serious postseason aspirations.
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