Richmond’s highly touted new recruiting class showed why there was so much hype surrounding them going into the season when the Spiders beat Robert Morris Sunday to advance to a 2–1 record.
Last week against Old Dominion, Richmond struggled to get points from players other than ShawnDre' Jones and TJ Cline. That wasn’t a problem today as four players had at least 10 points. The final score was 81–69 after Richmond took the lead in the middle of the first half and never relinquished it.
De’Monte Buckingham, a hometown signing by coach Chris Mooney, had a strong game with nine points and seven rebounds. He also had a gravity-defying put-back dunk that got the crowd into the game and gave the Spiders momentum when it looked as if Robert Morris might mount a comeback.
Buckingham’s size and athletic ability are hard to miss, but Mooney also praised his intelligence and understanding of the game.
“He has a really high IQ for the game, which is really special because when you see a guy that has a dunk like that, you don’t also expect him to be able to make really good passes,” Mooney said.
The other young standout in the game was Nick Sherod, who played high school basketball right down the street for St. Christopher’s. He finished with 10 points and five rebounds after being largely held off the stat sheet against Old Dominion.
In the time between games, he worked on being more assertive, he said. “I know that last game, at least for me, we were pretty tentative, but this time we tried to come out with extra confidence and play our game,” Sherod said.
Even though freshman had a stronger presence, the seniors weren't quiet. Cline led the team in points, rebounds and assists with 18-9-5. Jones had 15 points and Marshall Wood, the senior transfer from Virginia Tech, scored 14.
Richmond plays Hampton on Tuesday and then it heads to Brooklyn where it will play against Maryland in the Barclays Center. It will be the first time playing in an NBA arena for the freshmen, but they aren’t worried about the bigger spotlight.
"We always take it one game at a time," Buckingham said. "We’re thinking about Hampton now. When you get caught up with stuff like that it can throw you off.”
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