Game #9-004: Liberty at Richmond SpidersNovember 9, 2012 7:00 pm
"What's our score? DOUBLE YOURS"... That was a cheer we used to shout during high school basketball games. Usually it was used in the first half when you might find your school up twenty-four to twelve or something along those lines. Tonight, the University of Richmond found the rare opportunity to be participating in the same cheer when their score was in the eighties as they defeated the Liberty Flames 84-42.
The Spiders have always been the crown jewel of Richmond, Virginia, basketball, but after the VCU Rams Final Four run things seem to have changed. Sports radio was abuzz in Richmond as students lined up outside of VCU's Siegel Center at noon for the Rams 7:30 tipoff versus Florida Gulf Coast., while Richmond's sleepy campus prepared for their home opener.
Without regard to the recent success of VCU, Richmond flexed their historic muscle this evening as they celebrated 100 years of basketball. In celebration of the Spiders 100th year tickets were one dollar! Hot dogs one dollar! Soda one dollar! Alright, alright... I think some people may have taken the one dollar hot dogs more as a challenge than a promotion. Beyond the centennial celebration, the Spiders find themselves welcoming VCU to the Atlantic 10 and to the bumps and bruises that may come in their transition into a tougher league with a larger geographic footprint.
This was never really a basketball game as Richmond dominated right off the bat. Darien Brothers, who may have one of the most beautiful shots in college basketball, was in the zone; he was four for five from downtown and finished the game with nineteen points. Beyond Brothers, the biggest advantage the Spiders had on the evening was Derrick Williams, who looks more like a NFL tight end then a Atlantic 10 basketball player. The bruiser finished with eleven boards and eight points. Most importantly, the Spiders showed their flexibility off the bench in not starting talented point Kendall Anthony. Anthony had eleven points and four assists; many teams would love to have him as their starting point guard.
Liberty entered the game as a "Franken-team." Coach Dale Layer lost one of college basketball's most efficient players in Jesse Sanders and finds himself, likely, fighting for his job. To counter the hot seat, Layer signed six (count 'em SIX) junior college players to the Flames squad this year. Liberty also entered the game without starters Antwan Burrus and Joel Vander Pol. Also, it was revealed on Thursday that assistant coach Jason Eaker was facing felony drug charges. Simply put, it was apparent from the beginning that Liberty lacked rhythm and any sort of a scoring threat. In the end Davon Marshall ended up leading the Flames in his debut with twelve point and five rebounds. Marshall would be the only Flame to finish in double digits for scoring.
After being down by twenty at half-time, the Flames tried to turn up the heat on Richmond but nothing seemed to work. Simply put, Richmond was just too strong and fast for the Flames and it showed on the court. Coach Layer must go back to the drawing board and find a formula that may work for this Liberty team going into Monday night's home opener versus William & Mary. Liberty has about a month and a half to find a formula and some chemistry that will work to go into conference play. Right now they need everything: a scorer, rhythm, and a defensive presence. The biggest piece to watch may be junior college transfer J. C. Coronado, who showed some signs tonight of being talented in the low post; he simply couldn't finish.
From a Richmond perspective, the Spiders have a solid foundation for their season building from tonight's 84-42 win. On Tuesday, the Spiders will host the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks at the Robins Center. While the Spiders did not see a scorer of any sort tonight, they should see a premier player on Tuesday in Keith Rendleman of the Seahawks. Rendleman averaged over fifteen points per game a year ago and should pour it on even more this year. Beyond UNC Wilmington, the Spiders will get comfortable at home again when they host Hampton on Thursday before they visit Tubby Smith's Minnesota squad. They then return home to face Wofford before closing out the Thanksgiving weekend schedule at a tough Ohio Bobcats squad on November 24.
These two squads left with very different paths tonight, but there is a lot of basketball left to played. There is no telling how we'll look back at this game in March and where these teams will be at the time. Just thank God that college basketball is back! at RICHMOND 84, LIBERTY 42
LIBERTY 0-1 (0-0) -- D. Marshall 3-10 4-5 12; J. Sanders 0-6 5-5 5; J. Jourdan 3-7 1-4 7; T. Speaks 1-8 0-0 2; C. Donley 2-5 2-2 7; J. Coronado 3-6 0-0 6; A. Smith 0-3 0-2 0; S. Ogukwe 0-1 0-0 0; K. Assinesi 0-1 0-0 0; C. Roberts 1-3 0-0 3; L. Taylor 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-50 12-18 42.
RICHMOND 1-0 (0-0) -- D. Brothers 7-10 1-2 19; K. Anthony 5-9 0-0 11; D. Williams 3-6 2-3 8; T. Davis 1-3 2-4 4; W. Sparrow 3-5 1-2 9; G. Robbins 2-6 1-2 5; C. Lindsay 3-5 5-5 12; A. Nelson-Ododa 1-4 1-2 3; T. Allen 1-4 3-4 5; D. Taylor 0-2 0-1 0; L. Piotrowski 1-2 0-0 2; J. Benjamin 1-1 0-0 3; L. Moyer 0-1 0-0 0; Z. Chu 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 29-59 16-25 84.
Three-point goals: LIB 4-19 (J. Caleb Sanders 0-3; K. Assinesi 0-1; C. Donley 1-4; J. Jourdan 0-1; D. Marshall 2-7; C. Roberts 1-3), RICH 10-28 (D. Brothers 4-5; J. Benjamin 1-1; G. Robbins 0-2; C. Lindsay 1-3; W. Sparrow 2-3; D. Williams 0-1; K. Anthony 1-3; Z. Chu 1-1; A. Nelson-Ododa 0-2; L. Piotrowski 0-1; T. Allen 0-2; T. Davis 0-1; L. Moyer 0-1; D. Taylor 0-2); Rebounds: LIB 26 (S. Ogukwe 5), RICH 45 (D. Williams 11); Assists: LIB 6 (J. Caleb Sanders 2), RICH 13 (K. Anthony 4); Total Fouls -- LIB 17, RICH 18; Fouled Out: LIB-None; RICH-None.