The Collegian
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Spiders sneak away with victory over Davidson in down to the wire clash

Graduate guard Jordan King during the Feb. 24 game against Davidson College. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.
Graduate guard Jordan King during the Feb. 24 game against Davidson College. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.

 Close for comfort would be an understatement.

The University of Richmond men’s basketball team ultimately came away with the 66-63 victory over Davidson College Feb. 24 to stay tied for the top of the Atlantic 10 conference standings with Loyola University Chicago, but the Wildcats didn’t make it easy on the Spiders.

With just 14 seconds to play in regulation, Davidson hit a 3-pointer to tie things up at 63-63. Just like the last matchup between the Wildcats and the Spiders on Jan. 24, which went into overtime, it seemed as if things coming down to the wire was inevitable once again.

Until graduate guard Jordan King was fouled on a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds to go and made all three of his free throws to put the Spiders ahead once and for all. 

It wasn’t always pretty, and much of gameplay was tightly contested, but the Spiders emerged victorious in front of another sold-out crowd at the Robins Center, and in front of two special alumni teams that were honored during the game — the 1984 and 2004 squads that both had runs in the NCAA Tournament. 

“You learn that you can weather the storm,” senior guard DeLonnie Hunt said in a postgame press conference. “I feel like that’s the best way you can say that. Everything not going well, not the best shooting night for us, offense not flowing well, but still finding a way to win, especially on your home floor.”

Davidson’s ability to get to the bucket coupled with tight defense from the Wildcats kept things tight on the scoreboard in the early going. UR was able to pull ahead by eight points by the 9:36 mark after a second straight 3-pointer from graduate forward Zae Bigelow, but as was the case for most of the game, Davidson remained in striking distance. 

At halftime, it was just a three-point game, with the Spiders taking a 31-28 advantage into the break. 

“A little different from Richmond-Davidson games in that probably the defensive end of the floor showed up better for both teams,” UR Head Coach Chris Mooney said in a postgame press conference. “But I have such admiration for Davidson, their scouting, their competitiveness and their style of play.”

In the second half, things remained close, but Hunt proved to be a jolt for the Spiders’ offense, and his play led to UR jumping back out to a nine-point lead with 13:20 to play.

Hunt finished with 14 points, a performance which Mooney said was one of Hunt’s best of the season. 

“The drives that he had in the second half, I think he had one and-one,” Mooney said. “But he was so aggressive, he found those drives.”

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Down the stretch, graduate center Neal Quinn’s two free throws gave the Spiders a five-point lead with 1:15 to go in regulation, but once again, the Wildcats would hang around, ultimately tying things up until King’s late free throws to seal the victory. 

King was another one of the Spiders’ double-figure scorers, finishing with 15 points. Quinn was the other, putting up 12 points. 

With this victory, the Spiders won their 20th game of the season and clinched a top-four seed in the upcoming A-10 Tournament at the Barclays Center in March. They are tied for first place in the conference standings with Loyola Chicago, both teams sporting a 12-2 conference record. 

“To clinch that with all these games to play is pretty significant, pretty impressive, but we know we have work to do and we have some things that we want to try to accomplish,” Mooney said

UR’s remaining games are against Saint Louis University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Saint Joseph’s University and George Mason University. The Spiders face the Billikens away at 8 p.m. Feb. 28. 

Contact sports editor Jimmy James at jimmy.james@richmond.edu

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