For the second game in a row, the University of Richmond men’s basketball team used key play from its bench to ignite a second half thrust to victory. Friday evening at the Robins Center, the opponent standing in the crosshairs was the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Spartans, losing to the Spiders 78-58.
For the second game in a row, the University of Richmond men’s basketball team used key play from its bench to ignite a second half thrust to victory. Friday evening at the Robins Center, the opponent standing in the crosshairs was the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Spartans, losing to the Spiders 78-58. UNCG (2-12), coached by former North Carolina Tar Heel standout Wes Miller, failed to keep pace with the Spiders for most of the second half, eventually letting the game fall out of reach.
Scoring was nearly matched throughout much of the first period with the Spiders taking the lead into halftime, 38-30. Darien Brothers set the tone early and often for the Spiders, heading into the locker room with a game-high 12 points and hitting 2-of-4 from behind the arc. As a team, the Spiders took advantage of eight first half Spartans turnovers and turned them into 14 points.
But, the Spartans refused to simply roll over and hand the Spiders an easy victory. UNCG burst out of the gate in the second half going on a 14-2 tear, and taking their first lead since the 17-minute mark of the first half. Coach Miller’s squad, led by 2011 SOCON All Freshman team selection Trevis Simpson (11 pts) and a barrage of three pointers from Nicholas Paulos (12 pts), seemed poised to spoil a special night for the University of Richmond Spiders basketball team who unveiled a banner in honor of their second highest scorer and 2009-2010 A-10 Player of the Year Kevin Anderson at halftime.
The game went back and forth between the Spartans and Spiders in the early stages of the second period. During that stretch Kendall Anthony caught fire and scored 11 straight points for the Spiders, keeping them within striking distance and ultimately tying the game at 55 apiece. The Spiders, and their well-balanced attack on both offense and defense, proved to be too much for the Spartans down the stretch. Fueled by Darien Brothers and Darrius Garrett, the Spiders suffocated the Spartans with a game-ending 23-3 run, putting the game out of reach and squashing any notion of a Spartan upset.
Despite being dominated on the boards as a team (UNCG 46-UR 35), Garrett grabbed a third of Richmond’s rebounds and put up one of his best all around games of the season (9 pts, 12 rebs, 6 blks). While Garrett dominated the paint, Brothers continued his hot shooting and took control of the perimeter game, finishing with a game high 20 points (6-11 FG, 4-7 3PT). Kendall Anthony finished the contest with 17 points in just 15 minutes and provided the spark off the bench in the second that put Richmond in position to make their big run.
Friday’s win against UNCG brings the Spider’s non-conference schedule to a close with a record of 9-6. As the Spiders ride into 2012 winning three of their last four contests, they will continue to need big games from Brothers, Garrett, and Anthony to lead them into the rigorous stretch of A-10 play. Brothers, the only returning starter off last year’s Top-25 and Sweet 16 team, understands how the team must stick together and improve in order to compete against conference foes. “I definitely think we have a chance to contend in the A-10. But we have to work hard, every single day.”
Spoken like a true leader.
The Richmond Spiders return to action next Wednesday (Jan 4), opening up conference play on the road against the 49ers of Charlotte. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.
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- Record Breaker–With his six blocks against UNCG Friday, Darrius Garrett reached 184 for his career and passed Tim Faulconer in becoming the all-time leading shot blocker in Spider basketball history.
- Feeding the Hot Hand–Darien Brothers continues to lead the team in scoring (14.3 ppg) and is averaging 23.6 ppg over his last 5 games.
- 3-Point Defense–For the fourth straight contest, Richmond has kept its opponent to under 30% from behind the 3-point line.
- Ball Hogs–The Spiders grabbed a season high 11 steals in Friday’s game, contributing to UNCG’s 17 total turnovers.