After a week of devastating news, the Richmond Spiders rallied behind Kendall Anthony’s 28 points to beat St. Bonaventure, 64-62, and improve to 15-8 (5-3) on the season.
For the first ten minutes of the Richmond Spiders’ home contest against the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure on Wednesday night, you could tell the players and the crowd were still in shock from the unfortunate news surrounding Richmond’s basketball program. The athletic department announced on Monday afternoon that senior Derrick Williams was leaving the program for personal reasons. This afternoon, just three hours before game time, even more unfortunate news was levied to the Spiders. Senior guard and leading scorer, Cedrick Lindsay (18.3 PPG), was ruled out for the remainder of the season after finding out he had a meniscus tear in both knees.
Richmond needed its newly absent senior leadership more than ever throughout the opening half, trailing by as many as fourteen points and failing to initiate the offense they were so accustomed to seeing Lindsay lead. Richmond’s usually stout defense did not help the cause, allowing the Bonnies to shoot 61.5% from the floor and 50% from three-point range (3-6). However, the Spiders were able to rebound from a sluggish start and pull off a 15-6 run to close the half and provide their squad, and the fans, with the momentum they would need to crawl all the way back into the game. Going into the locker room, Richmond trailed by just five. It could have been much worse, however, considering 25 of the Spiders’ 31 first-half points came from five three-pointers and going 10-16 from the free throw line.
After swapping baskets to begin the second half and keep the deficit between five and seven, the Spiders went on a 7-0 run to take their first lead of the night at 46-44. Kendall Anthony (28 PTS, 9-15 FG, 2-5 3FG, 8-9 FT) and ShawnDre’ Jones (4-6 FG, 3-3 3FG, 2-3 FT) combined for nine of Richmond’s first fifteen points in the second half to spur the Spiders on to eventually building a six-point lead with just over eight minutes remaining. St. Bonaventure captured the lead just once more, 62-60, with 1:36 left on the clock before Terry Allen (14 PTS, 4-7 FG, 2-3 3FG, 4-6 FT) tied the game at 62.
And with the game on the line, guess who stepped up to hit the game winner? None other than Mr. Clutch himself, Kendall Anthony. After St. Bonaventure missed a jumper with twelve seconds left on the clock, Anthony came streaking down the floor, threw on the brakes to allow two defenders to fly by him, and drained a shot just inside the three-point line to give the Spiders a 64-62 lead with 5.2 seconds to go. The Spiders would hold on one final defensive stand and secure the win on their home floor for the tenth time their season.
The Spiders will continue to miss the senior leadership of Cedrick Lindsay and Derrick Williams as they finish out the second half of their conference schedule. But tonight’s gritty and inspiring performance by a grieving Spider squad, led by Kendall Anthony and ShawnDre’ Jones, at least brought the focus onto the present. What fans at the Robins Center saw tonight was a team that refuses to quit or roll over, no matter what the circumstance on or off the court.
Kendall Anthony’s season thus far has been nothing short of spectacular, especially after landing Atlantic-10 Conference Player of the Week two weeks ago. Going into Wednesday night’s game versus St. Bonaventure, Anthony was averaging nearly fifteen points a game, which will surely continue to rise after his latest 28-point performance. Anthony nearly single-handedly kept Richmond in the contest Saturday against VCU, and hit clutch shot after clutch shot en route to victory against the Bonnies. The Spiders will need his leadership and hot scoring touch now more than ever as they continue to search for answers in place of Cedrick Lindsay’s absence.
- Home sweet home —After beating St. Bonaventure Wednesday night, the Spiders improve to 10-2 at the Robins Center. However, road woes (4-5) continue to plague the up and down Spiders.
- Big shoes to fill — Before Derrick Williams decided to leave the Spider program, he was averaging 5.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game this season. Though his scoring numbers have seen a significant drop over the past two seasons, Williams’s experience and leadership will be sorely missed throughout the remainder of the season.
- Fresh talent — There was no question that freshman ShawnDre’ Jones could score coming out of high school, but no one thought his impact would be as immediate (or as urgent) as it has been thus far this season. Jones tied his career high in scoring (thirteen points) on Wednesday night and is now shooting 53% from three-point range (8-15) in A-10 play.
- Defense first — When the Spiders concentrate on their defensive energy and effort, they are a tough team to beat regardless of how well they are shooting the ball. After beating St. Bonaventure 64-62, the Spiders have held opponents to 64 points or less in regulation fifteen times this season. Richmond continues to be one of the A-10’s best at field goal (41%-2nd) and three-point percentage defense (28%-1st).
- Without their man — The Spiders are now 2-0 on the season without their leading scorer Cedrick Lindsay in the lineup. Lindsay sat out the Coppin State game back on December 14th due to a previous injury. Now with Lindsay forced to sit out the remainder of the season, Richmond’s role players will need to find ways to more than make up for Lindsay’s 18.3 points per game average.
After their brief stop at home on Wednesday night, the Spiders hit the road once again to travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Dukes of Duquesne (10-11, 2-6). Last season the Spiders handled the Dukes at home, 79-55, but this will be Richmond’s first road test of the season without Cedrick Lindsay. Tipoff is at 7:00 PM and can be heard locally on ESPN 950AM.