There’s nothing flashy about 0.500, and it’s the current University of Richmond basketball station. But a lot could be learned about the retuned Spiders through their 3-3 starts, some good, some bad.
Here are six notable moments from six games:
1. UR didn’t load November cupcakes. The Spiders defeated VMI, Northern Iowa and Temple and lost to Charleston, Wichita State and Syracuse. VMI usually struggles to successfully compete at a lower level than Richmond plays, but other than that it was a busy schedule.
“That’s what Richmond is, a program where we’re going to play great teams and challenge ourselves and test ourselves,” said coach Chris Mooney, whose team plays Toledo (4-2) on Nov. 30. “The names of the Teams that we have played so far are teams that are nationally recognized at a high or intermediate level.
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“This is what we should be doing in Richmond and we accept it, but it will really challenge you and get you to be at your best sooner than maybe if you could gradually get into it.”
2. Marcus Randolph found the part. The 6-foot-5 sophomore played 29 minutes all last season. Randolph played 21 minutes during UR’s last game, defeating Temple 61-49 in the Empire Classic consolation game in Brooklyn on Tuesday night.
“His best performance as Spider. He was amazing,” Mooney said. “He let us play a little less because he’s strong and fit enough to fight the big guys and fast enough to guard the perimeter.”
Randolph fired only one shot (did 3). He had three assists and three rebounds, helped set up the offense and defended well.
3. Looks like three hits from three gears. He wasn’t consistent over six games, but 6-7 Wofford graduate Isaiah Bigelow (10.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg) was fairly consistent, 7-0 Neil Quinn (6.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg) came out recently, and 6-5 Jason Roche (7.8 ppg) shot 44% from three-point range.
“Everything is moving in the right direction,” Mooney said of the cohesiveness of the Spiders.
4. Matt Grace was missing. Richmond has played his last three games without Grace at 6-9, a fifth-year player and starting forward (sprained knee) who averages 7.7 points and 4 rebounds.
“He really allows us to be so versatile,” Mooney said. “Now we are struggling with the fact that when the Nile is gone … for us this (position) is a kind of key around which we all revolve. We’re just not as smooth and crisp. But when Matt is there, we are even smoother and more defined.”
5. Jason Nelson has had more ups than downs. The Spiders averaged 9.8 turnovers last season and were up 3.1 turnovers with Jacob Gilyard in his fifth year of starting. With redshirted freshman Nelson (13 points, 24 assists, 13 TOs) as point guard, UR averages 12.8 passes and has a minus 1.5 rev difference.
But Nelson’s talent and flair are impressive, and experience will likely only make that clear.
6. This is not a typo. In a 74–71 overtime Monday lost to the Syracuse in Brooklyn, the Spiders edged out the Oranges 44–27 to go 20 boards offensively. Mooney’s teams over the years were by no means famous for their rebounding prowess.
Tyler Burton, 6-7 senior, grabbed 15 rebounds against Syracuse.
“This is probably the best rebounding game I’ve ever seen from him,” Mooney said.
ur plus-2 on glass after six games.