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Spiders & Bonnies – Preview

3rd Place at Stake

The Richmond Spiders (20-6, 9-3) head to Olean, NY to take on the St. Bonaventure Bonnies (17-9, 9-4) at the Reilly Center tomorrow night at 6:30 (NBCSN).  This game has some serious A-10 Conference standings implications, as the Spiders are just a half game up on the Bonnies.  In front of sell out crowd, this game won’t be a cakewalk by any means.  Richmond is coming into this one having won 5 straight, while also not allowing an opponent to crack 60 points in the process.  St. Bonaventure have had quite an up and down year, and it is hard to know exactly what team is going to show up.  The Bonnies haven’t played since last Friday, where they got steamrolled by the Davidson Wildcats 93-64.  This will be the 27th all-time meeting between these 2 schools, with Richmond leading 16-10, with the Bonnies winning the last 3.

Spider Identity

Richmond started off the year showing what kind of offense they had.  The offense is still excelling by all means, but the defense has been the talk lately.  Looking back at their last game vs George Mason, the Spiders shot 3-16 from deep, yet still won convincingly.  This makes this team that much more dangerous as we go down the stretch.  Opponents have to really look at Richmond as a threat from all areas of the court.  Grant Golden has been fantastic as of late, and has just been huge on defense.  Chris Mooney is really getting the most out of his guys, and it is showing thus far.  Sitting at 20 wins in February is something that most Spider fans could’ve only dreamed of, but it is happening right before our eyes.

Scouting St. Bonaventure

The Bonnies are led by sophomore guard Kyle Lofton.  Through 26 games this season, he is leading the team with 14.2 ppg, 6.1 apg, & 1.3 steals per contest.  Expect to see him on the court for almost all 40 minutes, as he is the Bonnies version Jacob Gilayrd when it comes to minutes.  Osun Osunniyi is a big body down low for St. Bonaventure.  Standing at 6’10”, he will be a key matchup for the Spiders.  He is averaging 10.5 ppg & 8.9 rebounds per game, and has scored 10+ points in 6 straight.  This could be an interest stat to watch, especially with how well the Richmond defense has been clicking.

How Will the Spiders Fare?

We can look once again for the Spiders to go big with Grant Golden.  He is scoring at will, and is just having fun out there.  Jacob Gilyard will be looking to pick some pockets as he normally does.  He added 2 more steals to his division 1 leading 83 steals.  Nick Sherod has been returning back to form as of late, as he has hit 6 three’s in his last two outings.  When he is on, he is a huge boost to this already dangerous Richmond offense.  This is a game that will be a good indication of what this team can really down as we head down the final stretch of conference play.  In what will likely be the last rowdy crowd that isn’t the Robins Center on the Spiders schedule, so this could be a good warmup for Brooklyn, and potentially the NCAA Tournament.

Prediction

This is a game that as a fan, I was really worried about a few weeks ago.  Now that the Bonnies have been up and down for a while, it is hard to see what team will show up.  Will it be the squad that was there when they faced blew out George Washington, or will it be the team that gets blown out by Davidson?  With that in mind, I believe that Richmond will win this game, but it will be closer than we think.  I’ll go Richmond 74 – St. Bonaventure 68.  We will see you Saturday night Spider Nation!