One bad game against a good team dropped Richmond out of the Top 25 rankings.
The Spiders get a chance to rebound from Sunday’s 87-71 loss at then-No. 11 West Virginia with a trip to Vanderbilt on Wednesday.
Richmond’s game plan on Sunday was to get into passing lanes and prevent the Mountaineers from getting the ball inside. But West Virginia instead bombed the Spiders from the perimeter, making 57 percent of its 3-pointers and 58 percent from the field.
“They haven’t shot that well too often in the last couple of seasons,” said Richmond coach Chris Mooney. “Maybe they were too comfortable because we were so concerned about their interior players. But you still have to be aggressive and firm when you’re guarding your guy.”
The Spiders played impressive defense and valued the ball while winning their first four games. Neither of those attributes were seen on Sunday. Not only did they cough up 52 first half points, they also committed 12 first half turnovers that led to 15 points.
Richmond will try to get back into the win column behind Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Week Tyler Burton, who was one of its few highlights at West Virginia. Burton produced a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Meanwhile, Vanderbilt (2-0) has had more games canceled than played. The Commodores opened on Nov. 27 by nipping Valparaiso 77-71, then saw four straight contests get wiped out due to COVID-19 issues. They finally returned to the court Sunday with an 84-41 rout of winless Mississippi Valley State.
But it wasn’t quite that easy, at least at the beginning. It might have felt like a second season opener for Vanderbilt as it trailed the Delta Devils 15-9 with 11:27 left in the first half. Then it rattled off 13 straight points and steadily built the lead after that.
“It’s been weird,” said Commodores sophomore Dylan Disu. “We’ve had two weeks off and a whole week of basically no basketball. It was weird playing again so it just took some time to get into a rhythm and figure out who we were as a team and play together.”
Scotty Pippen Jr. is averaging 18 points and five assists per game to pace Vanderbilt. Disu was the Commodores’ best player on Sunday with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
The Commodores and Spiders met last year, with Richmond taking a 93-92 overtime win at home.
–Field Level Media