Richmond Spiders use team effort to advance In NIT
Richmond shot 53.8 percent from the floor and came up with a number of big defensive stops late to earn the postseason victory as one of the NIT’s number one seeds.
Junior Terry Allen led the way with a monster effort, recording his fifth double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Allen has reached double figures in scoring in 19 of the last 21 games and leads the team with five double-figure rebounding games.
Alonzo Nelson-Ododa, in just his second game back from injury, played with incredible poise and confidence, scoring 14 points, grabbing five boards, making four blocks and two steals. Josh Jones came off the bench for 11 points on a perfect 4-for-4 performance from the field.
ShawnDre’ Jones and Kendall Anthony combined for 11 assists and just one turnover against a very physical Terrier backcourt. Jones scored 12 points while Anthony came up big late, scoring six points in the final two minutes to finish with 12.
T.J. Cline had an efficient 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting in just 14 minutes played due to early foul trouble. Trey Davis and Deion Taylor each grabbed four rebounds for the Spiders.
“I thought our guys played with great energy right from the start,” head coach Chris Mooney said. “And I thought our crowd was tremendous from the beginning of the game. St. Francis was a very physical and aggressive team, but we are pleased to be advancing in the NIT and hosting on Sunday.”
Forty-four of Richmond’s points came in the paint, and the Spiders held a slight edge in turnovers, assists, steals and blocks. UR tied a season high with 24 made free throws and outscored SFBK, 37-13, in bench points.
Brent Jones led St. Francis Brooklyn with 19 points, while Chris Hooper notched a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Terriers’ leading scorer, Jalen Cannon, scored eight points on 4-of-9 shooting.
The Spiders led for most of the first half thanks to white-hot shooting. Richmond hit its first six field goal attempts and started 10-of-12 from the field to build a 29-16 lead. The Terriers were able to keep the margin around 10 points for the remainder of the half until a ShawnDre’ Jones jumper in the lane gave UR a 41-30 halftime lead.
Free throws from Anthony early in the second half propelled Richmond to its largest lead of 47-32, but the Terriers’ physical play helped them pull back. Four consecutive SFBK field goals cut Richmond’s lead to 71-68 with 4:58 left. A putback tip-in brought it even closer at 74-72 with 2:47 left.
But Anthony would not be denied in potentially the final game of his career. He converted consecutive driving layups to push Richmond’s lead back to six. T.J. Cline answered a Brent Jones layup by cutting down the baseline and ShawnDre’ Jones found him for the lay-in.
Richmond then put the game away on stops from Nelson-Ododa. He blocked a shot at the rim then ripped the ball out of Tyreek Jewell’s hands as he came back for another try.
Free throws salted away Richmond’s seventh all-time victory in the NIT, 84-74. It marked the third-highest scoring output of the year for Richmond.
The Spiders have now won 20 games in four of the last seven seasons.
Richmond will now face Arizona State in the NIT Second Round on Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. in the Robins Center. The game will be aired on ESPNU.