Written by Noah Goldberg
The Spiders will look for their second win in a row against George Washington tomorrow, following a dominant performance against George Mason.
An up and down Richmond team appeared to show the true potential of their young core this past Wednesday. While sophomore Jacob Gilyard seemed to take over, dropping 28 points, production came from a lot of places. Freshman forward Sal Koureissi was the first sub of the game and quickly came up with two big impact rebounds. Fellow freshman Matt Grace in only ten minutes of play grabbed two big rebounds of his own on the offensive end.
Sophomore Grant Golden had a Nikola Jokic-like game with 17 points, six assists, and five rebounds. Golden has proved to be one of the better passing big men in the A10, averaging 3.1 apg which is 10th of all players in the conference. His passing has been huge for the chemistry between him and Gilyard. This was on display last Wednesday when Golden looked off a defender and then threaded the ball to back-door cutting Gilyard for an easy layup.
While Richmond easily defeated GW in D.C. earlier in the season, the Spiders have seemed to play to the level of their competition lately. In between wins against top-5 A10 teams, they lost at home to La Salle in a game they scored less than 60 points. It’ll be crucial that they can find rhythm early and hit the open shots so as to not play down to the Colonials’ level. This will keep the pressure on GW while opening up space down low for Golden and sophomore forward Nathan Cayo.
Senior forward Julius Johnson has been out since injuring his lower leg in St. Louis last week. Coach Mooney told media he’d be practicing half-court drills today and they’d evaluate his status for tomorrow based on how that goes. This has meant increased minutes for many young players on a roster already lacking depth. Contributions from Koureissi and senior Noah Yates have been vital in the Spiders’ recent success.
Tomorrow should be a good matchup for Richmond as GW isn’t a particularly physical team. Being undersized, Mooney’s team ranks dead last in rebounding in the conference. GW is in the middle of the pack in terms of rebounding and feature only one player with 5+ rpg. Season ending hip surgery for junior forward Arnaldo Toro was a major loss for them on the glass as he nearly averaged a double-double in seven games.
The Spiders will look to carry over momentum from last Wednesday’s win to tomorrow in hopes of their first win streak in conference play. This is the last game before their first matchup of the year against rival VCU, the top defensive team in conference. Tip from Robins Center is tomorrow at 6:00pm EST and you can catch it on 99.5 & 102.7 FM, 950 AM ESPN.