The University of Richmond men’s basketball team secured their 500th win at the Robins Center with an 82-65 drubbing of the La Salle Explorers on Feb. 10.
The win also preserved the Spiders’ spotless 12-0 home record, despite an uphill battle early on. Graduate center Neal Quinn struck first for the Spiders with a quick two-point jump shot, but the Explorers were quick to respond with nine points of their own.
Graduate forward Zae Bigelow and senior guard Dji Bailey paced the Spiders through the first eight minutes with four points apiece, but it was the home side that still had to play catch-up, as the Explorers maintained a tentative 16-10 lead.
The following UR possessions appeared to blow the game open, as graduate guard Jordan King kicked off a 14-5 scoring run with a pair of 3-pointers. The Spiders would soon see their first lead of the game almost 14 minutes in, as first-year guard Mikkel Tyne scored three straight 2-pointers for a 24-23 advantage.
La Salle tacked on six further points before the half to break an almost-seven-minute scoring drought, though not before Bigelow and sophomore center Mike Walz ballooned the lead to 36-27.
Bailey put up the first four points of the second half en route to a career-high 22 points, but snappy shooting from the Explorers gradually eroded UR’s 13-point lead. As the half neared 10 minutes to go, the Explorers had drawn within 3, shooting 10-of-15 from the field compared to the Spiders’ 7-of-19.
Bailey and Bigelow were key down the stretch for the Spiders, challenging the brief Explorer second-half leads. Bigelow put away eight of his 17 points in the final 10 minutes, while Bailey contributed five more to finally pull away from La Salle’s offense, particularly hindered by a trio of defensive rebounds from King.
Though shots continued to fall from both sides, the Explorers never got closer than six to the Spiders, which saw points from eight different players.
Despite fouling throughout the closing minutes of the contest, the Explorers got no relief from the Spiders, who shot 17-for-18 from the line, again led by Bailey, who went 9-for-10.
Just having a week off, we had one bad practice, but we picked it up yesterday,” Bailey said in a postgame press conference. “But the biggest thing was just energy… We knew that was going to be one of the biggest things this game.”
The Spiders will seek to continue their home win streak against the University of Massachusetts on Feb.14 at 7 p.m.
Contact sports writer Scott Valentine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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