Kendall Anthony sunk a pair of game-winning free throws with 2.3 seconds remaining to give the Richmond Spiders a hard-earned victory in their season opener against Delaware Friday night.
Kendall Anthony sunk a pair of game-winning free throws with 2.3 seconds remaining to give the Richmond Spiders a hard-earned victory in their season opener against Delaware Friday night at the newly renovated Robins Center.
The Spiders, paced by senior and top returning scorer, Cedrick Lindsay (20 PTS, 8-12 FG), saw an 11-point lead evaporate late in the second half but managed to hang on and beat the Blue Hens of Delaware, 71-69, in an exciting and sloppy start to the 2013-14 season. Three players finished with double-digit scoring for the Spiders while holding Delaware’s impressive scoring tandem, Davon Usher and Devon Saddler, to only 27 combined points–12 points below their combined average from last season.
Richmond was ice-cold from the field during the first half, shooting 11-30 from the field and a pitiful 0-10 from beyond the arc. However, they managed to maintain the lead for the majority of the first 20 minutes due mostly to Delaware’s even shakier output (10-28 FG, 1-11 3FG). Terry Allen (11 PTS, 9 REB) provided the explosive spark early in the second half needed to help stretch the Spider lead to 10 before a 19-6 Delaware run put the Blue Hens ahead with just over five minutes remaining. Richmond native and Delaware guard, Jarvis Threatt (Highland Springs), missed two late free throws that would have given Delaware the lead with only 30 seconds left, leaving the door open for Kendall Anthony (9 pts) to seal the deal at the line and give an energetic crowd at the Robins Center a nervously satisfying victory to open the new season.
Regardless of who’s on the court, season openers don’t typically offer showcases of the finest, most fundamentally sound basketball. Friday night’s scrappy game was no exception. Delaware and Richmond committed a combined 49 fouls and collectively attempted 64 free throws. The Spiders turned the ball over only 13 times, but collected a measly 10 assists on 25 made baskets.
But just as a season opener can be down right torturous for any basketball purist or fundamentals junkie, a team’s first game also provides glimpses into what the new season might have to offer. For the Spiders, Friday night’s game displayed scoring and rebounding depth in a solid, and young, frontcourt. Alonzo Nelson-Ododa, Terry Allen, and Trey Davis–all sophomores–scored a combined 31 points on 11-21 shooting and swiped 25 rebounds between them. Overall, Richmond dominated the paint (38-24), which will help to free up open looks on the perimeter for sharpshooters Lindsay and Anthony. Friday night’s game also made clear that Lindsay has taken the reins from former teammate Darien Brothers as the Spiders’ go-to guy. If he continues to play aggressively and shoot at a high percentage like he did against the Blue Hens, he should fill Brothers’ shoes just fine. Lastly, if Friday night’s last second nailbiter provided any hint to the 2013-2014 Richmond Spiders season, then hold on. This should be a lot of fun.
TOP PERFORMER: Terry Allen, F, Sophomore
In only 19 minutes of playing time, Terry Allen managed to nearly triple his scoring and rebounding output from a year ago. On the heels of a sluggish and poorly executed first half, Allen came out aggressive and productive after halftime, scoring a quick seven points in the first three minutes of the second half and leading the way to an 11-point Spider lead. If he can sustain Friday night’s level of energy and efficient output while cutting down on his turnovers, Allen will prove himself a key part to Richmond’s success down the road.
- With Friday night’s victory over Delaware, the Spiders are 9-0 all time in season openers under coach Chris Mooney and have won 14-straight season openers.
- The Spiders return 70% of their scoring and 80% of their rebounding from a year ago.
- ShawnDre’ Jones, a highly talented freshman out of Houston, scored his first collegiate points in Friday night’s contest, sinking a three pointer in the second half.
- Delaware is the only Division I school in the nation with two players that ranked among the top 50 in scoring last season (Saddler-19.9 ppg and Usher-18.8 ppg).
- Two Richmond natives played for the Blue Hens in Friday night’s game at the Robins Center–Jarvis Threatt (Highland Springs HS) and Marvin King-Davis (Meadowbrook HS).
The Spiders have a tough non-conference schedule this season. In their first eight games Richmond could possibly face up to five NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago. The Belmont Bruins of the Ohio Valley Conference present Richmond’s next challenge on Monday night (11/11) at 7:00 PM in the Robins Center. Belmont finished 26-7 a season ago and lost to Arizona in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Monday night’s contest against the Bruins is a first round matchup in the Hall of Fame Tipoff.