Spiders Head Up I-95
The Richmond Spiders (17-6, 7-3) head to Philadelphia to take on the La Salle Explorers (11-11, 2-8) tonight at Tom Gola Arena (7:00/ESPN+). It will be interesting to see how the Spiders bounce back after a scare this past weekend vs Fordham. Blake Francis was back in the starting lineup for the 1st time since Jan. 11, so we can credit the lackluster performance to adjusting their identity as their leading scorer returned. The Explorers got back in the win column in their last outing vs Saint Joseph’s, snapping a 7 game skid. When La Salle visited Richmond in January, the Spiders won handily 75-57.
What to Watch For
For the Spiders, I think that all eyes will be on Blake Francis. Despite not playing in about a month, he seemed to not miss a beat on Saturday at Fordham. He scored a 18 points, including going 4-9 from deep in the Spider victory. This was a game that many did not anticipate him suiting up for, as mentioned on the Spider Scoop Podcast. We are now glad that he played and is seemingly well. Jacob Gilyard continues to have solid games night in and night out, and he will also be a factor to watch tonight. He’s coming off a 22 point outing & also racked up 2 more steals to add to his season total. Tyler Burton is a player that is going to be super important down the stretch for Richmond. The freshman had another good game vs Fordham, scoring 8 & grabbing 9 rebounds in just 15 minutes. If the Spiders want to make a run at a double bye, Tyler is going to be a major factor in their success off of the bench.
In their last matchup with the Explorers, Richmond did an excellent job of limiting Isiah Deas‘ production. He is still leading the team in points with 11.1 ppg, but that didn’t intimidate the Spiders. They limited him to just 3 points in 22 minutes, going 1-8 from the field. He will be important to contain once again, as well as Sherif Kenney. He scored a team high 19 points for La Salle in 30 minutes of work. Grant Golden was a big factor the last time these 2 teams met, and it will be interesting what the game plan is down low for Richmond.
This is another game that could be labeled a trap game, as Richmond plays host to VCU on Saturday at the Robins Center. Despite this possibly being a tough game on the road, I believe Richmond will win this game by 10+. My final score prediction is Richmond 82 – La Salle 70. As always, be sure to follow along on Twitter at @AustinDaisey11 & @A10Talk. We will see you tonight Spider Nation!