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Richmond defeats UMass, 79-65, to jump to third in A-10

richmond basketballRichmond entered Tuesday night’s game against UMass with a chance to leap the Minutemen in the A-10 standings.

And from the opening tip, the Spiders played like a team with something to gain, rolling to a 79-65 win to improve to 13-5 this season and 6-3 in the Atlantic 10.

“I thought we looked terrific at times on offense,” UR coach Chris Mooney said. “We really moved the ball well. To face that much pressure and only have six turnovers is great. On defense we were really good and our effort was excellent.”

Richmond’s six turnovers tied its fewest in a game this season, while on the other end the Spiders forced 13 giveaways by the Minutemen, leading to 19 points. The win was Richmond’s fifth straight vs UMass at the Robins Center.

The Spiders opened the game on a 5-0 run behind a three-point from Blake Francis and a jumper from Grant Golden. After UMass answered with five straight points, Richmond took a 7-5 lead on another Golden jumper with 17:07 remaining in the first half. It was a lead the Spiders wouldn’t relinquish. UR built the lead to double digits at the nine-minute mark, when a Francis jumper made the score 28-18, and led 43-32 at half. Francis scored a game-high 17 points in 17 minutes of play in the first half.

Richmond stayed in control of the game and steadily built its lead to 18, reaching 59-41 at the 12:23 mark of the second half following a 10-2 Spiders run that featured a pair of and-one baskets for Nathan Cayo. The Minutemen responded and were able to pull within seven of the Spiders with seven minutes remaining. But the Spiders kicked it into another gear with a 9-2 run to push the lead back out to 14. Francis’s three pointer with 1:10 left, his only basket of the second half, sealed the victory for Richmond.

“UMass is a very good team and dangerous,” Mooney said. “It’s very important to pass the ball well against them or you can find yourself in trouble pretty quickly. Tonight our quick passing made it difficult for them to apply the kind of pressure they wanted because we were aggressive and everybody we throw the ball to is skilled enough to make a play.”

The Spiders finished with 17 assists, their second most in an A-10 game this season, and 37 rebounds, their most in any conference game this year.

Francis scored a game-high 20 points, his 13th 20-point game with the Spiders. Cayo finished just behind him with 18 points, 14 coming after halftime. Golden scored 16 points to go with his five assists. 5’9″ guard Jacob Gilyard led the Spiders with nine rebounds, a career best, to go with six assists and four steals.

At 6-3 in the Atlantic 10, Richmond is tied with UMass and Davidson in the conference standings. However, the Spiders hold the tiebreaker over both teams by virtue of their wins vs the Minutemen and Wildcats this season.

Richmond is back in action Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPN 2 against Saint Louis in a battle of teams to picked first and second in the conference this preseason.


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