Richmond Spiders hand No. 14 VCU 64-55 loss in rivalry game

ur-spiders1Richmond went to No. 14 VCU and defeated the nationally-ranked Rams, 64-55, in the Bank of America Capital City Classic at the Siegel Center.

The Richmond Spiders (12-9, 5-3) only needed to drive 6.8 miles, but made an emphatic statement in just the second home loss for VCU (17-4, 7-1) since January 26, 2013. The win snapped VCU’s 12-game win streak, and gave the Spiders their fifth win in the last seven games.

It marked the 11th win over a ranked opponent since 2008 for the Richmond Spiders.

“I’m really proud of this team,” head coach Chris Mooney said. “It was a great environment here. I think we’ve been playing really well lately and on the road. We did a lot of good things today and showed some toughness.”

Senior Kendall Anthony displayed yet another gutsy performance, scoring 20 second-half points to finish with 22 for the game. He tied a career high with six assists and helped Richmond beat VCU’s full-court pressure defense. Anthony went 9-of-11 from the free throw line in the second half and hit a big three-pointer late that silenced the Ram faithful.

“[Kendall Anthony] is just the toughest kid I’ve ever coached, Mooney said. “He has earned every bit of accolade or congratulations that he gets. There’s no one that has worked harder or put himself out there more.”

Junior Terry Allen kept Richmond close in the first half with three baskets and three rebounds. He finished with 15 points and seven boards. Trey Davis was another crucial piece of the Spiders’ win, grabbing 10 rebounds.

Richmond’s defense limited the Rams to just 40.7 percent shooting and a 3-of-20 performance from deep. The Spiders outscored VCU 42-27 in the second half and forced 10 turnovers with just four assists. Richmond finished with 12 assists and a 39-27 edge in rebounding.

Treveon Graham scored 18 points for VCU with seven rebounds, while Briante Weber had 11 points and six steals before leaving the game with a knee injury in the second half.

The game got off to a slow start offensively as neither team could find early points. VCU’s interior defense showed its strength, while the Spiders shut down the Rams’ outside shooting, holding VCU to 1-8 from three in the first half.

The Rams used a 13-4 run to open a 28-17 lead with under two minutes left in the first, but VCU turned the ball over going for an alley-oop and the Spiders raced up court where ShawnDre’ Jones knocked down a three. After a UR stop, Alonzo Nelson-Ododa grabbed an offensive rebound and got a putback to cut the margin to 28-22 at halftime.

Richmond continued the run out of the locker room, hitting three straight threes, two from T.J. Cline, to grab a 31-30 lead. After free throws from Jones and a layup from Allen, Richmond extended the lead to 35-30 and the run to 18-2.

VCU got as close as four after a Weber jumper with 7:03 left, but the Spiders continued to draw fouls and hit clutch free throws, while Anthony hit a three-pointer and converted on drives to the basket. Six straight free throws from Richmond in the final minute sealed the 64-55 victory.

The Spiders travel up to Philadelphia for a game at La Salle on Thursday, Feb. 5 at 6:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network.

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