The Richmond Spiders are having a good season overall, but they're not having a great season; a win over Virginia Commonwealth this Thursday night at their home court, the Robins Center, would make their year. The Rams were on a 13-game winning streak coming in, but UNC-Charlotte realized last week that gaudy records are as secure as a leaf on a tree in January. The 49ers came into Richmond last week with a dazzling 15-2 record and lost by 20 to the comfy, homey Spiders who sat at their perch and waited for Charlotte to jump in a web: it happened.
VCU had just a six mile trip so fatigue wasn't a factor and it was a neighbors-fighting-neighbors shootout; the Spiders were 10-1 on their home court entering this one...could the Rams stop Darien Brothers who exploded for 39 points against Charlotte and who else would spell trouble for the Rams.
The overtime, 86-74, victory over VCU is a big one for the Spiders: it stopped the Rams 13-game winning streak and gave VCU its first A-10 loss of the year. Richmond is now 13-7, and 3-2 in A-10 play while VCU is 16-4, 4-1.
Virginia Commonwealth v. University of Richmond...January 24, 2013
VCU knew it was gonna' have problems in the first half because they never led while Richmond built up as much as a seven point lead; VCU had its largest lead of seven points, unbelievably, with just 36 seconds left in regulation until an unlikely but not impossible comeback began. In those last regulation 36 seconds the Spiders scored 11 points to VCU's 4; there were two three-pointers, a regular field goal and three free throws by Kendal Anthony on a three-pointer he was fouled on. With four seconds left Darien Brothers hit a three-pointer and VCU failed to answer: overtime began at 69-69. Richmond had attained its largest lead of the game of 12 points, 86-74, when the overtime clock expired.
VCU was overwhelmed in overtime as Richmond continued to connect on three-pointers while VCU succumbed to the Spiders' web much as 15-2 Charlotte did a week earlier. VCU's failure to hit their threes was why they gave up the lead in regulation; VCU took a huge number of free throws and outscored the Spiders from the line, but they weren't fouled on those three-pointers which would have given them the victory in regulation.
Richmond shot 50% on field goals in the first half on 11-22 to VCU who shot 10-26...for the game the Spiders shot 28-58 and 12-27 from three-point distance. For the game VCU shot 22-59 and only 3-17 from three-point range. The errant threes were their undoing.
Richmond had four double-figure scorers: Kendall Anthony (26), Darien Brothers (18), Cedrick Lindsay (13) and Deion Taylor (10.) VCU's double figure scorers were Juvonte Reddic (20), Darius Theus (10), Treveon Graham (15) and Melvin Johnson (12.)
Kendall Anthony the 5' 8" guard scored 21 of his 26 points after halftime and was key in the final seconds of regulation as he calmly hit three consecutive free throws with just seconds left: everything, as it turned out, hinged on him making those free throws. He hit five three-pointers on the night while his teammate Darien Brothers hit four threes.
Richmond is usually cool at the line; tonight they were 18-23 from the line; VCU could have done better: they were 27-37 in free throws.