Dominant defense and sharp three-point shooting pushed the University of Richmond men’s basketball team to a 89-63 win over the George Washington University Colonials Saturday night at the Robins Center, where they had the highest point total of the season.
“I’ve been saying that we are pretty good offensive team and our defense needs to complement that offense,” Richmond head coach Chris Mooney said. “Tonight we were able to do that.”
Both teams traded baskets to begin the first half, with neither team holding onto a large lead until the 11th minute mark. Sophomore Nathan Cayo was fouled after making a jump shot off an assist from guard Jacob Gilyard, and the free throw put the Spiders up 26-17.
After establishing momentum, the Spiders had an offensive outburst. They went on a 16-0 run in a five-minute span, which included three pointers from redshirt sophomore Grant Golden and senior guard Julius Johnson.
First-year forward Souleymane Koureissi concluded the streak with a pair of free throws, putting the Spiders up 36-17 with a little over six minutes left in the half, their largest lead of the period.
The Colonials fought back, going on an 8-0 run of their own to cut their deficit to 39-30, but a layup by Golden cut their momentum. The teams entered halftime with the Spiders leading 43-30.
Golden led the team in scoring at the half at 15, to go along with his five rebounds.
Three pointers dominated the Richmond offense in the first half, constituting 24 of their 43 points. First-year guard Jake Wojcik contributed three.
Another three pointer from Wojcik started the scoring for Richmond in the second half. The second half started similar to the first, with the teams trading baskets until the Spiders cemented control with another prolonged scoring streak.
Johnson made a pair of three pointers on two consecutive possessions to put Richmond up 69-47. A three pointer and a layup from Golden would put the Spiders up 74-47 with 8:53 left in the game, marking an impressive 17-1 run over a nearly four minute span.
Golden and Gilyard finished the night tied for the team lead in scoring with 17 each. Wojcik scored 12.
Mooney said that Golden and Gilyard had been thrust into leadership positions earlier than they had expected due to a lack of a large upper class.
“We wouldn't want it any other way,” Gilyard said. “To have that responsibility as a sophomore just shows the hard work we’ve put in."
George Washington head coach Maurice Joseph complimented Gilyard’s aggressiveness and sharp shooting.
“The challenge is his speed,” Joseph said. “What he lacks in size he makes up for in heart, foot speed and agility.”
The team had a great shooting night as a whole, with a 62.3 field goal percentage and 56.5 three pointer percentage.
The Spiders’ record improved to 10-14 overall and 4-7 in Atlantic 10 conference play. They will travel across town for their next game Wednesday night at VCU.
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