A career night from Terry Allen propelled the Spiders to a home win against the La Salle Explorers in front of a sold-out Robins Center Saturday afternoon, 62-49.
Coming off a loss to the Colonials of George Washington on Tuesday evening at the Robins Center–a game the Spiders needed to win to remain on the NCAA Tourney bubble–Richmond (18-9, 8-4) entertained the La Salle Explorers (12-14, 4-8) Saturday in front of a sold out crowd. While La Salle had an incredible run to the Sweet Sixteen last March, this year’s team has struggled for most of the season, beating up mostly on the A-10’s bottom dwellers for a 4-7 conference mark. Their struggles would continue Saturday afternoon against the Spiders.
The first twenty minutes were defined mostly by rocky shooting and poor offense for both teams, though the Explorers had the lead throughout most of the half and took a 24-23 lead into the locker room. The Spiders shot just 25% from the field in the first half (8-32 FG, 2-10 3FG) while the Explorers managed to hit 32.3% of their shots. Rebounding appeared as if it was going to pose another problem for the Spiders, who gave up sixteen offensive rebounds to George Washington on Tuesday. La Salle managed to grab eight offensive boards in the first half on Saturday, leading to six second chance points.
The beginning of the second half played out in just as much of a logjam as the first, with five ties in the first ten minutes. The Spiders would finally break free and go on a 25-12 run to end the game and seal their sixth conference home win of the season. Terry Allen had his best offensive game of the season after scoring seventeen of his career high 23 points in the second half. Coming out of the locker room, Allen led the way with aggressive drives to the basket, great shot selection from the perimeter, and solid rebounding. With Kendall Anthony and Shawn’Dre Jones struggling from three-point range for most of the game (3-10 combined), Allen stepped up with two big threes early in the second half to set the tone for Richmond’s scoring run.
Following the game’s last tie at 37-37, the Spider defense allowed just three La Salle field goals for the remainder of the contest, spanning nearly eleven minutes. The Explorers shot just 32.7% for the game while Richmond improved their percentage in the second half to finish the game shooting 40.7%, including a 5-6 mark from three-point range in the second half after a 2-10 start.
The Spiders are now 4-1 after losing leading scorer and senior Cedrick Lindsay to torn knee ligaments after the VCU game on February 1st and continue to show tremendous toughness and offensive poise on the court despite losing Lindsay’s 18.3 points per game. If Richmond is going to continue playing solid basketball as the season winds down, they will need even more clutch performances from the likes of ShawnDre’ Jones and Terry Allen.
Terry Allen notched a career high 23 points in the scoring column against La Salle Saturday afternoon, but his performance was much more than just his offensive explosion. For the fourth time in five games, Allen has scored in double-digits, helping the Spiders account for lost minutes and scoring with the season-ending injuries to Cedrick Lindsay. Allen also grabbed nine rebounds, dished out three assists, and had one steal.
- Defensive poise — After Saturday’s win against La Salle, Richmond has held its opposition to 64 points or less in regulation in 11 of the last 14 games. The Spiders are third in the A-10 in scoring defense and ninth in the nation in three-point FG percentage defense (28.5%).
- Fresh start — Freshman ShawnDre’ Jones scored a career-high 25 points against George Washington earlier this week and has matched or set a career high in each of the last four games. He is averaging 16.6 points per game over that stretch and is shooting 57.9% from three-point range.
- No sophomore slump — The Spiders continue to get contributions from their four sophomore forwards Terry Allen, Trey Davis, Alonzo Nelson-Ododa, and Deion Taylor. At least one of the four sophomores has scored in double-figures in the last four games and all four have scored in double-figures at least once in the last four games.
- A-10 logjam — After beating La Salle, Richmond has entered into a logjam for third place in the A-10 with VCU, UMASS, and George Washington (all 8-4).
The Spiders return to action next Wednesday night against the George Mason Patriots (9-17, 2-10) at 7:00 PM in Fairfax and then head on to Rhode Island (12-16, 3-10) on Saturday, March 1st before coming back home for a rematch against cross-town rival VCU (3/8 9:00 PM).