Richmond guards Kendall Anthony and ShawnDre’ Jones had their Garden moments, hitting big shots in the final three minutes of play as Richmond won a 65-63 victory over Pepperdine in Madison Square Garden.
But it was Richmond’s forwards who ultimately propelled the Spiders (6-4) to victory over the Waves (7-3).
Redshirt-sophomore T.J. Cline was named Gotham Classic Most Outstanding Player after scoring a team-high 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field. Cline added five rebounds and three assists. He has averaged over six rebounds during the last four games.
Junior Trey Davis swiped a career-high five steals, one of which led to a thunderous run-out dunk, as he tallied double digits for the second time this season with 11 points.
As a team, the Spiders won the rebounding for the second-straight game (24-22), holding even with six offensive rebounds apiece. UR’s season-high 10 steals led to 10 fast break points and 12 points off turnovers. The Spiders also reached double figures in assists (11) for the ninth time this season.
Richmond outshot Pepperdine (54.8-50.0) in a game where interior offense came in bunches. The teams combined for 66 points in the paint and Richmond’s aggressiveness led to 25 free throw attempts, the second-most this season.
The Waves had three players score in double figures, led by Shawn Olden’s 13 points. Stacy Davis only finished with 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting despite averaging 16.8 points coming in.
The Spiders grabbed an early 12-4 lead after threes from Allen and Alonzo Nelson-Ododa. Pepperdine slowly chipped away as Richmond’s offense slowed down and the Waves were able to take a 20-19 lead with 5:39 left in the first half, one of 12 lead changes in the game.
The Spiders trailed 32-28 with just a minute left in the half when ShawnDre’ Jones hit a big three-pointer and then raced down the court with time expiring to hit a twisting layup at the buzzer, giving the Spiders a 33-32 lead at the break.
After initial jockeying back and forth at the beginning of the half, Richmond built a six-point lead after an offensive putback from Nelson-Ododa, a cutting layup from Cline and a free throw from Taylor.
However, Pepperdine responded again and the margin was cut to 57-54 when Anthony got wide open on the wing and Cline fed him for a dagger three-pointer with 2:50 left.
After the teams traded layups and Pepperdine hit two free throws, Jones aggressively drove to the paint and finished at the rim to give Richmond a 64-58 lead with 1:06 left. Pepperdine responded with a three-point play and after a Spider turnover, ur opted to foul with a three-point lead and 14 seconds remaining.
Pepperdine’s Jeremy Major hit both free throws, but Allen responded by hitting one of two free throws and Anthony grabbed the rebound on Pepperdine’s last-second shot to tie, sealing UR’s 65-63 win.
The Spiders will go for the Gotham Classic sweep on Tuesday at midday against IUPUI.