Written by Noah Goldberg
Coming off of a major upset against George Mason, the Spiders controlled the Colonials on both ends of the floor tonight, crushing GW 89-63.
Entering the game as the worst rebounding team in the A10, the Spiders dominated the glass in the first half. They led GW 18-8 in that category and freshman Sal Koureissi was a big part of it. He had five rebounds, including one on the offensive end, and also added in seven points.
Grant Golden was the main act though, seeming to have no trouble finding the rim. He backed down GW’s 6’ 9” forward Javier Langarica multiple times in the post. Golden totaled 15 pts, 5 rebounds and one assist on 66% shooting from the field.
Despite quiet performances from sophomores Nathan Cayo and Jacob Gilyard, good facilitation led to a 43-30 Richmond lead at the halfway mark.
Out of the break, it was all Gilyard for the Spiders. A couple minutes in, he scored six straight for Richmond and was very disruptive on the defensive end. Following a steal, he was able to get it up in transition to Cayo for a smooth reverse finish.
Gilyard’s momentum would carry with the team for the rest of the night. Because of consistent perimeter shooting (13-23 3FG), the Spiders were able to maintain a double digit lead for nearly the whole period. This allowed coach Mooney to ease the minutes of sophomores Nathan Cayo (25:04) and Grant Golden (24:52), which is always vital for a team that struggles with depth.
Senior Julius Johnson’s return had a huge impact in taking pressure and minutes off of the starters. In almost 17 minutes of action, he totaled 9 points on 3-3 three point shooting. He added in three rebounds and had a 23 +/- while on the court. Coach Mooney praised his performance, “I cannot say enough how great Julius played. Not only did he make shot but he had three rebounds and probably tipped three more to our guys. He was tremendous.”
Tipping those rebounds is part of the team rebounding approach the Spiders have taken all year. This was clearly on display tonight, as Richmond outrebounded GW 32-18. Grant Golden, Jake Wojcik, and Sal Koureissi all had five boards and four other players had three or more.
Not only was rebounding spectacular but the transition game was huge. Eight steals as a team helped Gilyard (4 steals) and the Spiders generate 18 points in transition. While the Colonials did shoot an efficient 48% from the field, poor rebounding and transition defense limited any damage they looked to do offensively.
Freshman forward Sal Koureissi had his best game of the season. In ten minutes of play he scored 10pts, 5 rebounds (1 OReb), and a big assist to Johnson for a corner three. His increase in play of late has been huge in his development as he’s been much more physical on the glass and comfortable fighting through contact.
Their first win streak of conference play, the Spiders improve to 10-14 (4-7) as the Colonials drop to 7-16 (3-7). Richmond will look to carry their offensive momentum into VCU next Wednesday, the top defensive team in the A10. This will be the first of two rivalry matchups between the Rams and the Spiders this season.
Gametime will be at 7:00pm EST next Wednesday in the Siegel Center. Coverage will be on 99.5 & 102.7 ESPN starting at 6:30 p.m.