The University of Richmond men’s basketball team lost to Hampton University by a score of 86-66 Sunday night at the Robins Center. This was the team’s third consecutive loss, and its record is now 2-4 on the season.
Head coach Chris Mooney entered the game tied with Dick Tarrant for the most wins by a head coach in Spiders history.
Mooney’s first game as UR’s coach was on Nov. 18, 2005, when the Spiders defeated the Hampton Pirates 44-40 at the Robins Center. Over 13 years later, a victory against the same team would have given Mooney the all-time record.
But the Spiders never held the lead over the entire course of the game.
The Pirates started the game making six of their first seven field goal attempts en route to an 18-4 lead with 13:14 remaining in the first half. They stretched their lead to 16 points just over midway through the first half before UR found its offensive groove.
Down 28-12, the Spiders went on a 15-4 run to cut the deficit to five points. For the remaining five minutes of the half, the two teams went back and forth, and the Spiders found themselves trailing 43-37 at halftime.
Junior guard Nick Sherod exited the game with a knee injury in the closing minutes of the half. He did not return to the contest. An MRI on Monday morning confirmed Sherod suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee that will cause him to miss the remainder of the season, according to RichmondSpiders.com.
The Spiders were already missing sophomore guard Jacob Gilyard, who was out with a groin injury that had bothered him since the University of Wyoming game last Wednesday. Mooney said he was day-to-day, and hoped his return to the court was sooner rather than later.
On the injuries to Sherod and Gilyard, first-year guard Andre Gustavson said: “You just gotta fight through it. Somebody’s got to step up and play better.”
Gustavson scored a career-high eight points in 26 minutes after playing only 11 minutes total in the Spiders’ five games before tonight.
Sophomore Nathan Cayo and redshirt sophomore Grant Golden each scored 15 points in the first half to combine for 30 of Richmond’s 37 points. Cayo also led the team with five rebounds heading into halftime.
In the first half, Hampton outplayed Richmond offensively. The Pirates had a 58 percent field goal percentage, and the Spiders shot only 44 percent. UR also converted just 20 percent of its 3-point attempts and went 7-12 in free throw opportunities. Comparatively, Hampton made 45 percent of its 3-point attempts and went 8-9 from the free-throw line.
An advantage in the turnover differential kept the Spiders in the game because Richmond lost just two turnovers in the first half compared to Hampton’s six.
A 17-7 run to open the second half for the Pirates extended their lead back up to 16 points. This time around, the Spiders had difficulty cutting into Hampton’s sizable lead.
UR’s defense was unable to stop Hampton’s offensive onslaught, and the Spiders trailed by double digits for the remaining 17:50 of the game.
A 3-point field goal by Hampton senior Kalin Fisher with 3:03 left in the second half made the score 84-57, the Pirates’ largest lead of the evening.
The Hampton offense was led by junior guard Jermaine Marrow’s game-high 38 points and six assists. Senior guard Kalin Fisher contributed 27 points and 9 rebounds. Together, junior guard Jermaine Marrow and Fisher’s 65 points nearly outscored the entire Spiders team.
The Pirates finished the game shooting 10-23 from the 3-point line and 18-20 in free throw attempts. UR made just 3-21 of its 3-pointers and converted 15-26 of its free throw tries.
Cayo led the Spiders in scoring with a career-high 23 points on 9-12 shooting. Golden was the only other Spider scoring in double digits, finishing with 22 points.
Richmond had won its previous five games against Hampton University. The Pirates entered the game 1-4 on the season, having dropped four in a row after a win against the Mid-Atlantic Christian University Mustangs in their season-opener.
This is just the second time the Spiders have been under .500 through six games under Mooney in 14 seasons.
When asked whether there was a message he would like to deliver to Spider fans on the state of the program after the team's third consecutive loss, Mooney said: “I don’t know right now, but let me think about that. I appreciate the opportunity.”
The Spiders' next game is away against Georgetown University on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Contact senior sports writer C.J. Slavin at email@example.com