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Spiders dominate St. Mary’s: Win 90-49

<p>Graduate Student forward Blake Francis takes a shot over a defender during a game against St. Mary's College on February 14th. <em>Photo courtesy of Richmond Athletics</em></p>

Graduate Student forward Blake Francis takes a shot over a defender during a game against St. Mary's College on February 14th. Photo courtesy of Richmond Athletics

The Richmond Spiders defeated St. Mary’s College of Maryland 90-49 on Sunday, Feb. 14. This was the Spiders first game in over two weeks due to their third pause because of positive COVID-19 cases among the team.

St. Mary’s, an NCAA Division III team, was added on the Spider’s schedule as a tune-up game following the pause.

In the first five minutes, both teams shot the ball well and UR and St. Mary’s traded baskets. UR shot a solid 63% during this stretch.

Mid-way through the first half, the Spiders started to pick up their defensive intensity and were able to get several defensive stops in a row. This was complemented by strong perimeter shooting from graduate student guard Blake Francis, who finished the first half with 12 points on 63% shooting. Solid offense and defense allowed the Spiders to outscore St. Mary’s 19-2. With seven minutes left in the first half, UR was up 37-14.

The Spiders continued to shoot the ball well and scored 10 three-pointers in the half. First-year guard Isaiah Wilson played impressive defensive while also knocking down two three-pointers. At halftime, the Spiders were up 48-28.

“His speed [and] his craftiness is a really good combination that will serve him well throughout his career,” men's basketball coach Chris Mooney said regarding Wilson.

The Spiders picked up right where they left off to start the second half. Sophomore forward Tyler Burton made back-to-back three-pointers and UR continued to smother St. Mary’s on defense. In the first ten minutes, UR only gave up four points and was able to outscore St. Mary’s by 18, pulling the lead to 70-32.

Throughout the game, UR made a total of 16 three-pointers, tying the Robins Center record. Freshman guard Dji Bailey and senior forward Sullivan Kulju played valuable minutes and helped the Spiders close out the game, leading to a 90-49 victory.

“I think we are moving in the right direction,” junior guard Andre Gustavson said following the win. “We can definitely build on this.”

Despite not being able to play or practice the last two weeks, the Spiders have a challenging test on Feb. 17, against rival VCU. 

“I think tonight helps because we also practiced earlier, so that is two more times in the gym,” Mooney said after the game. “It will be far different on Wednesday, but we are looking forward to meeting the challenge.”

The team tips off against VCU at the Siegel Center at 6 p.m. this Wednesday, Feb. 17. The game will be nationally broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

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Contact sports writer Henry Daniel at henry.daniel@richmond.edu

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