The University of Richmond men’s basketball team took care of business at home against a struggling University of Rhode Island Rams team.
Senior forward Tyler Burton led the team with 23 points, shooting nine of 20 from the field. Senior center Neal Quinn and first-year guard Jason Nelson gave needed support in the second half.
The Robins Center crowd helped early, wasting no time to cheer on the Spiders. Behind the home crowd, Richmond jumped to a 9-0 run. Defensive stops and Burton scoring the team’s first seven points allowed the Spiders to get an early jump.
URI’s leading scorer stopped the Spiders' early run in its tracks with a 3-point shot.
Richmond played team defense the whole game, switching pairings and being aggressive in the paint, holding the Rams to 37% from the field with seven turnovers to show for it.
Quinn had one of his best offensive performances this year with 14 points, shooting 6 of 11. But his commanding defensive presence in the first half allowed UR's defense to stay a single unit.
UR head coach Chris Mooney made sure to praise the offensive play of Quinn after the game.
“I thought the ball really was moving around the first 12 minutes or so of the game and mostly through him,” Mooney said.
Graduate student guard Andre Gustavson made one of his two 3-point shots with 3:34 left in the first half to put Richmond up 31-22.
Despite initial frustrations, Mooney gave the Spiders the credit they deserved for their defensive efforts.
“In the half court I thought for the most part we were very very good,” Mooney said.
Nelson came out of the gate hot with seven quick points from beyond the arc, at the line and in the paint.
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While Nelson helped extend the lead, Quinn came in and helped the offense continue to score. Quinn and Burton played a two-man game on offense, allowing the team to move and have space.
Quinn took advantage of the matchup down low on the Ram’s big man. He forced the Rams into foul trouble early and allowed the Spiders to earn easy points at the stripe.
Quinn fed Burton off of a cut to extend the UR lead to 15 with 5:15 remaining in the game, the largest lead of the night.
The Rams played a fast game towards the end to cut the lead down, resulting in a free throw battle between both teams toward the end. The Rams continued to fight, cutting the lead to 5 with 32.7 seconds left in the game.
Two pairs of free throws from Burton and Nelson going 4-for-4, the Spiders closed this game out in front of the home fans.
Despite Burton outsourcing his teammates by a fair margin, he said he is always confident in his teammates and believes in them.
"I see them everyday in practice and whether they’re out there playing well or not playing well my confidence is still there for them," Burton said.
The Spiders moved to 11-8 on the season and 4-2 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The team looks to carry on the momentum and team play against rival Virginia Commonwealth University at home at 7 p.m. Jan. 20.
Contact sports writer Anderson Coll at firstname.lastname@example.org
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