The University of Richmond men’s basketball team lost 56-53 against Wichita State University at home on Nov. 17.
The Spiders got off to a slow start in the first half.
Wichita State secured the first bucket of the game and while graduate forward Isaiah Bigelow answered with a three-pointer to get UR in the scoring column, the Shockers then went on a 10-0 run, making the score 12-3 five minutes into the first half.
From there, UR started making shots. sophomore guard Jason Roche and senior forward Tyler Burton each hit a three-pointer and senior center Neal Quinn had a layup and a dunk, which made the score 18-13. But, Wichita State ultimately took control of the game for the rest of the half.
The Spiders were able to make it a four-point game, but at the end of the half, the team had only scored 19 points compared to the Shockers’ 28. In the first half, the Spiders only shot 30.8 percent from the field and 17.6 percent from three.
After halftime, though, the Spiders came out with pressure and the momentum swung in UR’s favor. Bigelow hit two free throws and a three-pointer early in the second half, which cut the deficit to four. From there, the Shockers’ lead ebbed and flowed, UR inching ever closer to tying Wichita State.
With just over 10 minutes remaining in the second half, UR took its second lead of the game with a powerful and-one dunk over a Wichita State player from Bigelow, which left the crowd awestruck. Bigelow’s and-one play made the score 42-39 in favor of UR.
With about nine and a half minutes to go, UR led the Shockers by six — the Spiders’ largest lead of the night. However, the Shockers came crawling back, leading by six themselves with a minute and twenty seconds left in the game.
Burton cut it to three with a layup and the Spiders were able to commit a foul, sending the Shockers to the free-throw line. Wichita State’s guard missed both free throws, keeping it a three-point game with 2.4 seconds remaining.
Ultimately, the Spiders’ last-chance effort to tie the game up would go by the wayside, resulting in a 56-53 loss. Bigelow finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Burton had 15 points and 8 rebounds.
“We talked about coming out strong,” Bigelow said in the postgame press conference. “Obviously that didn’t happen, but moving forward, that gotta be our number one priority if we want to be a good team, ‘cause we got potential for sure.”
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This loss brings UR’s record to 2-2 on the season.
The Spiders began the season 2-0, with victories at home against the Virginia Military Institute and the University of Northern Iowa, but the team lost in overtime 92-90 against the College of Charleston on Nov. 14 — the first of what is now a two-game losing streak.
UR head coach Chris Mooney said the team was a little surprised by Wichita State’s zone defense, but they clicked a little bit better in the second half.
“Got the ball into the lane, made some good plays and just not quite enough,” Mooney said. “I thought we defended well for the majority of the game, but when you see a zone, a big part of that is we have to make some shots.”
Graduate forward Matt Grace did not play, as he was out with a knee injury he suffered late in the game against Charleston.
“He’s a fifth-year senior who’s a terrific player for us,” Mooney said. “Of course, it has an impact, but that’s college basketball. And the part that you have to control, or the part that you’re able to control, that’s what you have to do.”
UR’s next game is away against Syracuse University on Nov. 21 in the first round of the Empire Classic Tournament in Brooklyn, New York, which Temple University and St. John’s University will also be playing in.
After the tournament, UR will continue its stretch on the road away against the University of Toledo and the College of William & Mary. The team will then travel back home to the Robins Center for a Dec. 10 matchup against Drake University.
Contact sports writer Jimmy James at email@example.com.
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