Patriots Head to Robins Center
The Richmond Spiders (19-6, 9-3) play host to the George Mason Patriots (14-11, 3-9) tomorrow night at 7:00 in Richmond. When these two teams last matched up, we had an offensive outburst, with 184 combined points at EagleBank Arena. Blake Francis was out for this mid January matchup, but the Spiders won 97-87. When looking at how Richmond is playing now compared to this, it is safe to say we can basically scrap all of our notes from this one. As I just stated, Blake Francis was not available in this one and we can also safely say that Javon Greene will not drop 39 points on this Spider defense, as he did last time. These 2 squads have been squaring off since 1979, with Richmond holding the all-time advantage at 37-24. The Spiders have won 3 of the last 4 since losing 6 straight from 2015-2018.
Spiders Seeking 5th Straight Victory
Whenever you can string together a win streak during a season, it’s a good thing, but Richmond is starting to hit on all cylinders at just the right time. Going for their 5th straight victory tonight, they have a real opportunity to pull away from the teams below them in the standings. We have learned over the past week and a half or so that this team doesn’t have to shoot lights out to win. We saw early on in the year where it almost seemed that they had to shoot well in order to win. Not with this defense as of late. Since the loss @ VCU, the Spiders have not seen another team put up 60 on them, and that speaks a lot for this coaching staff. They are putting an extra emphasis on defense down the stretch, and it is paying off in a huge way. Not only has their defense been spectacular, their offense has been extremely efficient. There aren’t many moments during a game where you sit there and tell yourself that was a bad shot.
What to Expect
As Chris Mooney pointed out in the postgame press conference after the VCU game, this is a game that he doesn’t want anyone to look at as a “letdown game”. He had a message for the fans praising their passion and intensity, and is calling for them to match that the rest of the season. Sitting at 19-6, and eyeing a potential #2 seed in the A-10 Tournament, fans need to get to the Robins Center and give the players what they deserve. A real college basketball atmosphere. As said earlier, this game could look very different from the first matchup. Jacob Gilyard has become even more of a magician of defense, and I challenged fans on the Spider Scoop Pod to watch him exclusively on defense in this one. There are very few moments that he will be still, which is even more impressive from a guy that plays just about every second of each contest. Grant Golden is the reigning A10 Player of the Week, and we can expect to see some more high level play from him down the stretch. The Spiders are excelling this season when they get to see a team for the 2nd time, and they proved that with their VCU gameplan. They shut down Bones Hyland who torched them in matchup #1, so we can expect the same when guarding Javon Greene. Nick Sherod will be another guy to watch, as we see if he can keep up his hot shooting that he displayed last Saturday.
This is a game that I see Richmond running away with, similar to the George Washington game. This team is playing with some serious confidence, and they have their eyes on a bigger prize, aka the Big Dance. My final score prediction is Richmond 77 – George Mason 59. As always, be sure to follow along on Twitter at @AustinDaisey11 & @A10Talk. See you tomorrow night Spider Nation!