Game #9-219: Davidson Wildcats at Richmond SpidersDecember 29, 2012 6:00 pm
Richmond, Virginia, has grown into a sort of hub for mid-major basketball. You have solid programs in VCU and the University of Richmond, and the CAA tournament is held in town annually (not for long though). But this year it seems as if there has been an influx of quality programs visiting town. VCU has notable names like Wichita State, Belmont, Western Kentucky, and Lehigh on their schedule. Richmond's schedule has sported more in-state opponents but the Spiders do have a match up against Air Force lingering and Saturday's opponent Davidson. Also, both teams have a great Atlantic 10 slate as well.
Oddly enough, I couldn't remember coming across Davidson before in my many years of watching basketball in the area. I'm sure I'd seen Bob McKillop's squad before but I just couldn't remember where. About halfway through the first half it hit me, I saw the Wildcats take on VCU in the first round of the NIT in 2005. VCU was coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to their rival Old Dominion in the CAA final. Davidson apparently didn't feel bad for them as they beat the Rams on their home floor 77-62.
Speaking of heartbreaking losses, Richmond was coming off one of their own
. The Spiders hadn't played in exactly a week when George Mason's Sherrod Wright hit a three pointer at the buzzer to take down Richmond in the inaugural Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic. It was the first time the Spiders had lost back-to-back games all year.
Saturday's game had a bit of a buzz to it. The area around campus was still a bit sleepy due to the students being out on break, but there were a good number of people talking about the game at the local watering hole. These were two old Southern Conference rivals going at it and two schools who had faced each other forty-one times in the past, with Davidson holding the series advantage 29-12. There also seemed to be a fair number of Davidson alumni in the Richmond area.
It's the one hundredth year of Richmond basketball this year which means throwback jerseys, special presentations, a nifty floor logo, and some various other things. Saturday's game was one of the ones labeled as a "special occasion". Richmond wore their throwback uniforms again and at during the game they honored the teams of the early 1950s and of 1998. Being born in 1986, I definitely don't remember the teams of the 50s, but I remember the 1998 team well who won the CAA championship and took down South Carolina in the first round of the NCAA tournament at the MCI Center (now the Verizon Center).
There was a larger than normal crowd at the game (just over 6,000) and it looked like no one would have anything to cheer about besides the historic team presentations. To say the Wildcats were dominating would be an understatement. Davidson had a 23 point lead at one point in the first half and went into halftime up 37-18. The worse news for the Spiders was when talented big man Derrick Williams went down in the first half with what looked to be a very painful ankle injury. Williams spent the rest of the half on the trainers table icing his ankle and then spent the whole second half sitting behind the bench.
At least at halftime we were entertained by two dudes jumping on trampolines, I mean what could beat that? Richmond certainly spends more money on their halftime shows compared to cross-town rival VCU. I often wonder how much money these acts make for three minutes of guys jumping on trampolines.
The first couple of minutes of the second half looked like the same story from the first half was going to play out. Finally, Richmond woke up though and kept chipping away and chipping away and chipping away... Coach Chris Mooney kept subbing in and out guard packages to keep fresh legs on the floor and interchanging offensive specialist for defensive specialist. It's usually a move you see late in games, but Mooney seemed to unleash it a little early. With 2:21 left in the game the Spiders had finally clawed their way back to a 61-61 tie.
Unfortunately, for Richmond, Davidson had ice water in their veins as Nik Cochran hit a huge three that seemed to break the Spiders back like Sherrod Wright had a week ago. In the end the Wildcats would survive and win the game 70-61 behind 19 points from Jake Cohen. Next the Wildcats prepare for a Wednesday night showdown with Duke in Charlotte's Time Warner Center.
In the aftermath for Richmond I found out that senior Darien Brothers surpassed the 1,000 point mark by scoring 16 against the Wildcats. Brothers is a fun player to watch. He's certainly a fan favorite since he is a Richmond native, hailing from Benedictine High School. Benedictine has become a basketball power in the city producing stars like Brothers, Ed Davis, Vernon Hamilton, Bradford Burgess, and others. Richmond now has an interesting match up against Chris Mooney's former employer Air Force on Wednesday. It will be the Spiders' last chance to snap a three-game losing streak heading into Atlantic 10 play.
I'd be remiss if I didn't thank Richmond's ticket office and Kevin Johnson in this post. I mentioned my troubles with obstructed view seats at the Wake Forest game to Kevin and he was nice enough to send me free tickets to this Davidson game and upgrade my seats for other games. A big thanks to Kevin and his staff!
DAVIDSON 70, at RICHMOND 64
DAVIDSON 7-5 (2-0) -- J. Kuhlman 2-6 5-6 10; J. Cohen 6-11 7-7 19; D. Brooks 6-12 0-0 14; T. Droney 0-1 0-0 0; T. Kalinoski 2-3 2-2 7; N. Cochran 1-2 6-6 9; C. Mann 4-8 3-4 11; C. Czerapowicz 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 21-46 23-25 70.
RICHMOND 9-5 (0-0) -- G. Robbins 5-8 0-0 11; A. Nelson-Ododa 1-4 0-0 2; D. Brothers 5-9 4-4 16; C. Lindsay 3-10 2-2 9; K. Anthony 5-12 2-2 13; W. Sparrow 0-0 0-1 0; T. Davis 4-4 3-4 12; D. Williams 0-1 0-0 0; T. Allen 0-2 1-2 1; D. Taylor 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-50 12-15 64.
Three-point goals: DAV 5-15 (J. Kuhlman 1-4; N. Cochran 1-2; J. Cohen 0-1; D. Brooks 2-2; C. Czerapowicz 0-3; T. Droney 0-1; T. Kalinoski 1-2), RICH 6-17 (D. Brothers 2-3; G. Robbins 1-3; C. Lindsay 1-4; D. Williams 0-1; K. Anthony 1-2; A. Nelson-Ododa 0-2; T. Allen 0-1; T. Davis 1-1); Rebounds: DAV 31 (J. Cohen 8), RICH 21 (A. Nelson-Ododa 6); Assists: DAV 15 (N. Cochran 4), RICH 10 (G. Robbins 4); Total Fouls -- DAV 18, RICH 19; Fouled Out: DAV-None; RICH-None.