If you’re scheduled to play at A-10 co-leader VCU Wednesday, as Richmond is, it seems only right to arrive at the neighbor’s house with something in hand. UR brings momentum.
The Spiders head to Broad Street with a two-game winning streak after an offensive-based sweep of the league’s two Georges. Mason fell 81-67 Wednesday at the Robins Center, where UR outclassed George Washington 89-63 Saturday night.
Richmond (10-14, 4-7 A-10) did not wilt offensively when it faced GW’s zone, as the Spiders had against that defense in previous games this season. UR tore it up with interior passes to Grant Golden (15 first-half points), who made jumpers and power moves, and 3-pointers (8 of 13 in the first half).
“We were able to hit the middle early on,” said Golden (17 points). In Golden’s analysis, the Colonials were a touch indecisive defensively when the ball was passed into the middle. Attack him? Or stay on the baseline with UR forward Nate Cayo?
“That opened things up for us,” said Golden.
Guard Jacob Gilyard also finished with 17 points, and added 5 assists and 4 steals. UR shot 62 percent in each half.
“We scored early. To me, it’s all about ball-movement,” UR coach Chris Mooney said of zapping the Colonials’ zone.
By the time GW coach Maurice Joseph called timeout after 12 minutes to change to man-to-man, Richmond led 31-17. Joseph said he started in the zone to take away Golden’s post catches, which was accomplished. UR exploited the zone everywhere else.
“Credit to them. Credit to them,” said Joseph. “We didn’t guard with nearly the grit or the toughness to win this game.”
Freshman guard Jake Wojcik (12 points) hit 3 of 4 from 3-point distance before the break, when UR was ahead 43-30. Richmond’s zone caused the Colonials (7-16, 3-7 A-10) to go scoreless during a six-minute stretch of the first half.
Gilyard stole the show during a three-minute stretch of the second half. He hit a 3, made a steal, drove for a pair of layups, and with a left-handed bounce pass set up Cayo for a layup.
Mooney said he had been discussing with the 5-foot-9 Gilyard the value of being “in command” of Richmond’s offense. “It felt like he scored or assisted on every basket we had,” Mooney said of the dominating span.
Gilyard’s strong sequence put Richmond up 61-46 with 12:29 left. UR finished with 13 3s on 23 attempts, and outrebounded GW 32-18.
The Spiders, who have won six of the last seven meetings of these programs that first played in 1926, started three sophomores and two freshmen. The Colonials started three sophomores and two juniors, and played without starting guard Terry Nolan (11 pg), who was ill.
GW is the first opponent Richmond played twice this season. In Washington on Jan. 12, the Spiders defeated George Washington 76-56, shooting 54 percent and limiting the Colonials to 32-percent shooting. GW entered the rematch shooting 39.7 percent, which ranked 12th in the 14-team A-10.