The Collegian
Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Strong second half propels Spiders to ninth straight win

Graduate guard Jordan King during the Jan. 24 game against The George Washington University. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.
Graduate guard Jordan King during the Jan. 24 game against The George Washington University. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.

The University of Richmond men’s basketball team withstood early pressure from the George Washington University Revolutionaries, pushing their win streak to nine games after an 82-74 victory at the Robins Center on Jan. 24.

Seeking to pick up their eighth win in 10 games, it was the Revolutionaries’ surging offense that quickly put the Spiders at an uncharacteristic 8-2 deficit in the early going. 

GWU early advantage rapidly narrowed as graduate forward Isaiah Bigelow and graduate center Neal Quinn scored the next 10 of the Spiders’ 12 points. The run was capped by a hook shot from Quinn to give UR its first lead of the evening, 14-13, almost nine minutes into the first half. 

The Revolutionaries rebuilt an emphatic, 12-point lead over the nine minutes following Quinn’s go-ahead basket, shooting 6-for-12 from the field and a perfect 4-for-4 from the line. Facing what would prove to be their largest deficit of the night, the Spiders responded with a critical offensive rebound from graduate guard Jordan King that quickly became two points. 

The Spiders commanded the final three minutes of the first half. Stout defensive play and key rebounds from Bigelow and Quinn held GWU to just 1-for-6 shooting. King went 3-for-3 from the line, and combined with Bigelow, the duo shot 3-for-3 from beyond the arc to come within a point of the Revolutionaries.

A buzzer-beating 3-pointer from King would set the tone for the second half, as the Spiders roared out to a 45-39 lead off of senior guard DeLonnie Hunt’s driving layup and never looked back. 

“In the second half, we came out and made an emphasis to get defensive stops… once we started doing that, everything just started falling into place,” Bigelow said after the Spiders opened the half holding GWU at a modest 2-for-10 shooting from the field. 

While their defensive clinic continued down the stretch, the Spiders were able to balloon their lead to as much as 17 points, anchored by 32 and 20 point performances from King and Bigelow respectively, with Quinn and Hunt scoring for 21 more.

Timely fouling by the Revolutionaries closed the deficit to four with a minute remaining, but it was Hunt who would put the game away with a defensive rebound and two sunk free-throws, dropping GWU to consecutive defeats for the first time this season.

“Of course, we’re very proud of our team; George Washington has a tough team to defend,” UR Head Coach Chris Mooney said in a postgame press conference. “[We’re] happy with the win and look forward to the game on Saturday against Dayton.”

UR’s next match with the University of Dayton is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Jan. 27. The Flyers will arrive at Robins Stadium as the only other undefeated team in A-10 conference play. 

Contact sports writer Scott Valentine at scott.valentine@richmond.edu.

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