Strong play from senior TJ Cline and freshman Nick Sherod were not enough to help Richmond overcome Wake Forest as the Spiders dropped their second straight game on Saturday.
The Spiders continued their trend of starting slow, going down 16–7 early in the first half before rallying back to a 32–30 deficit by halftime. Richmond never led the entire game, though, and that was the closest the score would get.
Head coach Chris Mooney noted slow starts as something his team needed to improve. “We started well probably the Maryland game and that might be it," Mooney said. "That's something coaches, players and staff can look at and say we have to do better.”
Cline led the team with 20 points and eight assists. Fellow senior ShawnDre' Jones added 18 points, but it was Sherod coming off the bench who gave the Spiders a jolt when the game seemed to be getting out of reach in the second half.
Sherod hit two 3-pointers in a row and three shots in a row once he got in the game with eight minutes left in the game. This was one of the first times Sherod has shown the sharpshooting he was known for in high school.
His teammates said they were hopeful that this performance Saturday would boost his confidence, but Mooney said that shooting was far from the only way Sherod could help the team. “I am really confident that Nick will be a great player here," Mooney said. "He was able to come in and really give us a spark and he can do a lot more than shoot, but his shooting is exceptional.”
A recurring theme this year has been Richmond losing the rebounding battle, which it did again tonight. The Spiders had only 31 rebounds to Wake Forest’s 46, but Mooney was not convinced that rebounding changed the outcome.
“They have such good size and they go after the ball and there were a few we could have had, but I don’t think that was a difference in the game," he said. "Although I do think it was an asset for Wake Forest.”
Mooney’s lack of concern with rebounding is not surprising. The Spiders don’t have the size of many bigger programs, Wake Forest has three players listed at 6-foot-10-inches or taller, while Richmond has none that regularly see the floor.
One area in which Richmond impressed was on perimeter defense. Wake Forest — normally a good shooting team — was held to 16 percent shooting from the 3-point line. Conversely, Richmond’s smaller lineup was unable to keep the Demon Deacons from scoring in the paint, allowing Wake Forest center John Collins to score 16 points and pull down 13 boards in only 19 minutes of playing time.
Richmond takes on UMBC at home next Saturday trying to avoid a three-game losing streak.
Contact sports writer Mike Cronin at email@example.com