Lancers shock Spiders
UR goes 6 for 16 from free throw line in season opener
While Longwood celebrated one of the biggest basketball wins in school history, the University of Richmond endured a second consecutive season-opening head-scratcher.
The Lancers got a tiebreaking 3-pointer from Lorenzo Phillips with 1:10 left and the Spiders went 6 of 16 from the free throw line in Longwood’s 63-58 victory
led before 6,717
Longwood at the Robins
with 23 Center on Friday
points and night.
12 rebounds. Richmond fell 76-63 to Delaware in last season’s opener.
“Tonight’s a special night for us,” said Griff Aldrich, Longwood’s first-year coach. “To be able to come into the Robins Center and come out with a victory is a big feat for us. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys right now. And less, honestly, on the winning, but on their level of competitiveness.”
Richmond trailed by 10 in the first half, and then took an 8-point lead with 11:57 remaining. Longwood scrapped back, which
delighted Aldrich, who was on UMBC’s staff last year.
Versatile guard Isaiah Walton led the Lancers (2-0) with 23 points and 12 rebounds as Longwood outrebounded Richmond 41-31. Richmond was picked to finish 10th in the A-10. Longwood was picked to finish 10th in the Big South Conference.
With seven newcomers among 12 scholarship players, UR didn’t have the cohesion or offensive options of the Lancers, though they also had seven new players. The Spiders needed two 3-pointers in the last 1:10 of the first half to cut the Lancers’ lead to 34-33 at halftime.
“We weren’t good defensively. We weren’t good offensively,” UR sophomore guard Jacob Gilyard said. “Today wasn’t on any of our younger guys. It was on me, [junior Nick Sherod and sophomore Grant Golden]. We’re expected to lead the team. I thought I was ready to lead the team. I’m not.
“We just didn’t play well.” Had Longwood not committed a dozen firsthalf turnovers while rushing in an uptempo offense, it could have led by more than 10, its biggest advantage, with 3:16 before intermission. The Lancers shot 52 percent in the opening 20 minutes.
Gilyard led Richmond with 15 points, and also had five assists and six steals. Golden, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, scored 14 for UR.
But the Lancers prohibited Richmond from consistently getting good shots. UR made 38.3 percent.
“We had a lot of opportunities. We shot the ball so poorly,” said Richmond coach Chris Mooney, who added that offensive struggles caused the Spiders “to press a little bit.”
Aldrich said a Lancers’ scrimmage against William & Mary a couple of weeks ago helped Longwood defend Richmond, since UR and W&M operate similarly on offense.
“I’m not sure [the Spiders] got a bucket on a back-cuts tonight,” Aldrich said. “That was a real emphasis for us. We just said, ‘If they’re going to beat us, they’re going to beat us with contested 3s.’”
UR was 6 for 26 from 3-point distance.
Next: The Spiders stay home and face St. Francis Brooklyn at 11 a.m. Wednesday. This is an Education Day special, designed for school-age children who will attend with their classes.
The Terriers, picked to finish seventh among 10 in the Northeast Conference preseason poll, beat Division III Medgar Evers 92-42 Wednesday and play at Boston College on Sunday.
“We weren’t good defensively. We weren’t good offensively. ... I thought I was ready to lead the team. I’m not.” Jacob Gilyard, Spiders sophomore guard
LONGWOOD 63, RICHMOND 58Wednesday: St. Francis (N.Y.) at Richmond, 11 a.m., NBCSW
Versatile guardIsaiah Walton