Spiders display a new vigor
UR’s intensity in road victory too much for GW
WASHINGTON — Nathan Cayo went to the floor for a first-half loose ball and Julius Johnson did the same a few minutes later. Previously in the University of Richmond’s season, those plays weren’t often seen.
And this wasn’t heard from the opposing coach: “Guys we’re getting outtoughed! Play harder!” George Washington’s Maurice Joseph yelled that to his Colonials during an early-game timeout.
The Spiders displayed a fresh edge Saturday at the Smith Center, where they avoided the first 0-3 A-10 start in program history by beating the Colonials 76-56. Cayo, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, shut down GW’s leading scorer, 6-7 Illinois transfer DJ Williams (5 points on 1-of-10 shooting), and scored 18, with seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
“We’ve come out with no energy the last two games, so we were really focused on trying to be
very energetic, and competing, and fighting every possession,” said Cayo, referring to losses to Dayton and Rhode Island.
UR (7-9, 1-2 A-10) was up 53-42 with 10:15 remaining before sophomore guard Jacob Gilyard (12 points), who was averaging 16 points, scored his first point. That was a sign of Richmond’s across-theboard offensive efficiency (54 percent shooting), and UR coach Chris Mooney recognized this as “definitely our best defensive game.”
GW shot 32 percent. The Colonials (5-11, 1-2 A-10) were behind only 35-32 at halftime, but UR got three 3s from freshman Jake Wojcik (12 points) in the first five minutes of the second half, fuel for a 50-37 lead. GW never threatened thereafter. Richmond post man Grant Golden scored 17 on 5-of-8 shooting.
Richmond made a change in the starting lineup it had been using, plugging in 6-4 freshman Andre Gustavson for 6-3 Johnson, who was averaging 3.7 points and shooting 32.1 percent. With Gustavson among the first five, UR started three sophomores and two freshmen. Gustavson scored 8 of Richmond’s first 11 points.
“We made some shots early, and Nate gave us a few second-chance opportunities early on with offensive rebounds, which really helped us,” Golden said. “That good start is what really helped us throughout the game.”
Both teams were playing their third league game in six days. Joseph said he believed that caught up with the Colonials. “It was us being not tough enough, and playing with kind of heavy legs,” he said.
Competing against one of the few A-10 teams on which Richmond has a size advantage, the Spiders outrebounded the Colonials 38-25.
“Nate was on the boards hard from the beginning, and I think that really helped him get going on the offensive end,” Golden said.
Richmond arrived ranking No. 338 among 351 Division I teams in field goal-percentage defense (48.5), but didn’t allow the Colonials good looks.
“Take away transition. First pattern they have, be on that,” Mooney said. “Then mix in an opportunistic steal or make them take a really hard shot, and then I think all of a sudden it starts to be a tough game for the opponent.”
Next: Duquesne visits UR on Wednesday night. Since joining the A-10, the Spiders are 22-1 against the Dukes.