Unable to sustain an early 9-point lead and hot outside shooting, Richmond fell short of upsetting #19 North Carolina Saturday afternoon in a Semifinal matchup of the Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament.
For the second consecutive game, Cedrick Lindsay (29 PTS, 7-14 FG, 3-6 3FG, 12-15 FT) posted a career high in the scoring department, this time against the #19 Tar Heels of North Carolina, one of the nation’s longest and most athletic teams. Unfortunately for the Spiders, Lindsay was outmatched by opposing point guard, Marcus Paige (26 PTS, 6-13 FG, 6-9 3FG, 8-9 FT), who, shot-for-shot, led the Tar Heels to a hard fought 82-72 victory.
Right from the opening tip, Richmond came out aggressive and with a hot hand, connecting on three of their first four attempts from 3-point range en route to building an early 18-7 lead. Coupled with a stifling zone matchup on the defensive end, confusing the fast-break inclined Tar Heels, the Spiders seemed poised to try and run away early and hand the Heels their second straight loss to a non-conference opponent. However, no one else in Richmond’s rotation was able to match Lindsay’s offensive production, and, for the third straight game, only Lindsay and Kendall Anthony (13 PTS, 4-12 FG, 2-8 FG, 3-4 FT) managed to score in double figures. Neither were the Spiders helped by their poor possession management, suffering from a season-high 17 turnovers, off of which North Carolina scored 27 points.
Though the Spiders led for nearly the entirety of the first half, they went into halftime trailing 36-33 and never once led again. The outside shooting of Paige in tandem with Brice Johnson’s dominant inside performance (22 PTS, 8-16 FG, 8-12 FT) proved to be too much for Richmond. North Carolina shot nearly 54% from the field in the second half, including a 5-7 (71.4%) mark from beyond the arc–both the highest totals against the Spiders’ defense in any second half yet this season. Terry Allen and Alonzo Nelson-Ododa combined for 15 points and nine rebounds, but also accounted for 10 turnovers.
North Carolina, as is custom for one of the most elite programs in NCAA Basketball history, is athletically superior to most any team they line up against, and luckily for the Spiders they won’t likely face the same level of talent in A-10 play as they did on Saturday afternoon. That said, Richmond desperately needs a consistent 3rd scorer to compliment Lindsay and Anthony. Allen has shown flashes of being a strong inside presence for the Spiders, but his unsteady play of late has placed the scoring emphasis squarely on perimeter players. As the Spiders come up on a tough road stretch, they will need Allen to get back to his productive ways.
Cedrick Linsday has started the 2013-2014 season on a tear, scoring 20 or more in three of the Spiders’ first five games, and now averages 21 points per game after Saturday’s prime performance. Lindsay continues to be the focal point of the offense with his ability to create off the dribble, finish at the rim, and spot up from range. He also leads the team in assists (16), steals (7), free throws attempted (50) and made (36), and plays nearly 10 more minutes per game than any other player (35.4).
- Saturday’s game was the 16th meeting between Richmond and North Carolina, but the first since Dean Smith and the Tar Heels visited the Robins Center in 1997. The Spiders’ last win over UNC came on Feb. 3, 1953 when Warren Mills scored 17 points to lead the Spiders over the Tar Heels 87-82 in double-OT in Richmond.
- Richmond’s 3-point percentage is now up to 21% on the season after their 31.8% showing on Saturday.
- Cedrick Lindsay ranks in the top 50 nationally in scoring (21 PPG) and is only 3 points shy of 1,000 for his career.
- Alonzo Nelson-Ododa’s three blocks pulls him within 13 of cracking Richmond’s all time top-10 list.
- Saturday’s loss to North Carolina marks Richmond’s 3rd loss in 19 regular season tournament games in the last five years.
Richmond will play again tomorrow afternoon against the Fairfield Stags in the final consolation round of the Hall of Fame Tipoff tournament in Connecticut at 3:00 PM. Listeners can check in via ESPN 950. The Spiders return home after the holiday to face in-state foe, James Madison, on November 30th at 6:00 PM.