With a win over McNeese State, the Richmond Spiders are now 4-0 for the first time since 1985. The Cowboys, meanwhile, move to 2-5.
The first points of the game came from a layup by McNeese State guard Roydell Brown after a steal by teammate guard A.J Lawson.
Richmond responded with a layup by forward Grant Golden. McNeese State would then score five unanswered points to go up 7-2 early in the game. The Cowboys were not done here, however, going on a 10-2 run since Golden’s basket to make the game 12-4.
Richmond guard Nick Sherod would end the run with a three to make it 12-7, a little over four minutes into the game.
After a timeout, Richmond scored nine unanswered points to go up 16-12. After several back and forth baskets by both teams, the Spiders were still in front of the Cowboys 19-16.
An official timeout stopped play around two minutes later with the Spiders leading 23-19. Following the timeout, McNeese State was able to gain some momentum and bring the game closer at 29-27 with a little over four minutes left to play in the half.
The Spiders would then go on a 13-0 run to end the half at 42-27. A three-pointer from reigning A-10 co-player of the week Jacob Gilyard with under one minute left to play in the half would make him the first person in the game to reach double digits in points with 12.
Blake Francis opened up scoring in the second half, knocking down three free throws for the Spiders. The Cowboys responded immediately with a layup by Brown.
After this, a three-pointer by Francis would spark a 13-6 run by the Spiders, making the game 55-33 with a little over 15 minutes left in the game.
Following a timeout, McNeese State would gain some momentum, especially after Leondre Washington was fouled after making a layup. He would make his free throw to make the score 58-40.
Richmond's Tyler Burton made a three-pointer to make the game 61-40 just before an official timeout with 11:59 left in the game.
Following the timeout, both teams were able to steadily produce points as the score reached 69-47 with 7:58 left in the game.
The Spiders would then go on a 12-2 run to make the game 81-49 with 4:59 left to play.
With the bench players in for the remainder of the game, they managed to add six points for the Spiders, finishing the game 87-57. The six points came from two three-pointers by Tomas Verbinskis.
After a slow start due to McNeese State’s high-press zone defense, the Spiders managed to find their offensive rhythm.
“We knew they were coming out pretty aggressive," said Sherod, who finished with 17 points. "We were a little bit surprised about the aggression of their press, but once we figured it out we knew that we were gonna find some holes. It’s just about getting rebounds. We gotta get the rebound to get out in transition.”
Richmond has struggled with rebounding the ball thus far in the season. Tonight, however, was not the case, with the Spiders out-rebounding the Cowboys 32-23.
"Just going after the ball, competing on the backboard has not been our strength,” said Richmond Head Coach Chris Mooney after the win. “But I do feel like we’re capable of doing better and tonight was certainly good.”
Coming into the game, Richmond was the only Division 1 team in the country to have three players averaging at least 18 points per game, with their trio of guards in Francis, Sherod and Gilyard.
The Spiders are also third in the country in team points per game with 94.3. This same offensive efficiency was seen against McNeese State with the team shooting 58.0% from the field and 58.3% from three.
After starting the season with four home games, the Spiders travel to Brooklyn on Monday to play the Wisconsin Badgers. The game is the semifinal of the Roman Legends Classic, and will be played at the Barclays Center.
“It’s a big reason why I came here,” said Francis, finishing with a game-high 20 points. “To play this high competition every night, we’re all looking forward to the opportunity.”
The semifinal tips off at 7 p.m.
Contact sports writer Krystian Hajduczka at firstname.lastname@example.org