RICHMOND- Aren’t rivalries supposed to be competitive and physical?
VCU did not receive that memo and it showed in Saturday night’s 77-59 loss to state rival Richmond.
Rams are now 17-8 on the season. Spiders are 19-6.
VCU head coach Mike Rhoades emphasized after the George Mason game that if they did not play better, Richmond would crush them.
Sure enough, the team proved their coach’s word true, and did it in proper fashion.
The Spider’s sticky yet spectacular shooting helped them overcome the 87-68 loss earlier this season.
All 5 of Richmond’s starters are juniors, meaning next season, the Spiders will look to be one of the top teams in the conference.
Richmond’s Blake Francis returned to the court after missing 4 weeks with a sternum injury and proceeded to make an impact, scoring 13 points.
Nick Sherod led the Spiders with 23 points as four players registered over 10 points.
In contrast, all of VCU’s impact players are seniors and will graduate at the end of the season.
Marcus Santos-Silva led the Rams in scoring with 14 points and had a career high 12 rebounds.
“No more room for error”, Jishnu Purihella said. “We have to win berthing now and at least make a run in the NCAA tournament”.
Fans of VCU packed into the Chili’s bar hoping to come away with victory and smiles after a devastating defeat to George Mason in the previous game.
Instead, not even chicken nuggets and chips could brighten the mood.
“Bad offense and no shooting, they look mentally checked out” Kris Gordon said.
No kidding, you lose to a team in Mason that was 2-8 in conference play, and then against your rival, you come out flat? Recipe for disaster.
VCU’s shooting slump continued to carry over from the loss to the Patriots. The Rams converted only 25% from 3PT going 4/21 and 36 percent from the field.
Richmond finished the game 40% from 3-PT and 47% from the field.
Down 42-24 at the half, those in the Robbins Center who wore black and gold could not muster any effort to cheer.
Those who rocked red and blue found themselves celebrating endlessly with balloons.
The Spiders at one point led the game by 22 points. The fans? Disappointed and dejected.
“It was a game that we wanted and needed but it didn’t happen”, Olivia Edemba said.
In the second half, VCU could not shake off the early rust while Francis kept cooking.
Richmond pounced on the slumping Rams, converting 10+ 3-pointers and overcoming their previous performance at VCU where they only hit 3 3-pointers all game.
The next opponent won’t provide much relief to VCU as the Dayton Flyers, ranked 6th in the nation, come into Richmond.
What does VCU have to do to knock off the top team in the A-10? The answer is very simple.
“We gotta come out rowdy against Dayton or else it will be a very long night” Cal McCarthy said.
VCU will launch their seasonal blackout game against No 6. Dayton on Tuesday @ 8:30 on CBS Sports Network.