Written by Noah Goldberg
A four game A10 losing streak, sub-30% three point shooting, and a road game against a top five A10 team, the Spiders will try to turn things around in St. Louis tonight.
Richmond is coming off of a nine point loss at home last Saturday against St. Bonaventure’s. Despite being outrebounded all night, the Spiders found themselves trailing by only 4 points with about 2:40 left in the game. Hoping in these final minutes to find a way out of their shooting hole, a missed wide open corner three by Andre Gustavson led to a few Bonnies buckets which for all purposes sealed the game.
While it may sound like a broken record at this point, poor perimeter shooting and poor work on the glass has pretty much summed up the four game skid. The Spiders have shot 24% from deep over those games when they’d previously been a top five A10 team from deep.
Sophomore leaders Grant Golden and Jacob Gilyard have been somewhat inconsistent, not seeming to both click at the same time. While Gilyard dropped 19 points on 8-14 shooting (2-6 3FG), Golden managed 12 points on only 8 shots. If Golden is to seriously get back into A10 POY discussion he’ll need to be taking more than eight shots in tight conference games.
Going into St. Louis will certainly be a tall task for the Spiders as their only road wins this year came against South Alabama and GW. However, the Billikens only beat Umass at home by three points and URI by 7, a game that was tied at the half. If the Spiders want to have any chance at this one though they’ll need a long list of things to go right.
First on that list is to get the threes falling. Over the last four games, their average margin of defeat has been eight points. While this isn’t a great number, you must factor in that Richmond shot 24% from deep and is below 70% all year from the free throw line. If they hit two more threes per game and a couple more free throws, they’re competing again. While easier said than done, guys like Gilyard and freshman guard Jake Wojcik showed us in non-conference play that they’re capable of shooting much better.
Second on the list is shutting down Javon Bess. A former Michigan St. starter, Bess is getting 16ppg and 7rpg. He’s hitting threes at a 37% rate which means the Spiders will need to lock down defensively on the perimeter. Davidson and St. Joe’s killed them from deep and as Luke Frampton and Charlie Brown have showed everyone, the Spiders are susceptible to letting an opposing star take over offensively, especially from beyond the arc.
Next up they’ll need to help Golden and Cayo on the glass. The Spiders are dead last in rebounding in the conference and have averaged 26.5 rebounds over their last four. On the other hand, the Billikens are pulling in 37.3rpg as a team this year which places them at the top of the A10. After Saturday’s loss, coach Mooney spoke on how his small lineup can support the big men, “We’re going to always need team rebounding. But we’re going to need our guards to run down long rebounds. We’re going to need everybody to contribute to our rebounding.”
Richmond currently sits twelfth in the A10 at 7-13 (1-6). St. Louis, coming off of two losses in a row against Davidson and Duquesne, will certainly need every conference win they can get for any chance at an A10 title. Tip off is tonight from Chaifetz Arena at 7pm. Catch the game on [info here].