Richmond (10-5) at St. Bonaventure (10-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 8, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reilly Center (5,480) -- St. Bonaventure, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Richmond 6-2, SBU 6-0. Away Record: Richmond 3-2, SBU 2-3. Neutral Record: Richmond 1-1, SBU 2-1. Conference Record: Richmond 0-0, SBU 0-0. Series Record: Richmond leads, 12-4.
GAME NOTES: After each team managed to accumulate 10 victories in non- conference play, the Richmond Spiders and St. Bonaventure Bonnies will get down to business when they meet on Wednesday night in their Atlantic 10 Conference opener at the Reilly Center.
Richmond had won back-to-back games before being handed a 67-58 loss at No. 12 Florida on Saturday. Even with the setback, the battle-tested Spider are 10-5 overall. They have also fought well on the road, where they have three wins in five tries. They'll need that type of success again as they visit Fordham next.
St. Bonaventure, on the other hand, managed to claim an 81-57 win over Cornell in its last bout, giving it a third straight victory and its 10th in 14 tries overall. The Bonnies' success has been helped by a strong homecourt advantage, as they are a perfect 6-0 at the Reilly Center. On the horizon is a battle with No. 19 UMass this weekend.
There was only one meeting between these teams last season, and Richmond pulled out an 83-80 victory for its fourth win in the last five encounters with SBU, while increasing its all-time series lead to 12-4. Neither of these teams was much of a factor in the A-10 last season, with the Spiders going 8-8 in league play and the Bonnies just behind at 7-9.
The Spiders were clinging to a 50-49 lead with just under five minutes to play in their upset bid against Florida. However, they then allowed the Gators to go on a 12-0 run to restore order. Richmond would cut their deficit to six points with under a minute to play, but there just wasn't enough time to complete the comeback.
Such a strong showing against a national power was an encouraging sign for the Richmond team that has been mediocre at best this season, at least offensively. The Spiders are only scoring 69.1 ppg, while ranking next-to-last in the A-10 in assists (11.5 apg). However, the Spiders' defensive effort against the Gators was right in line with how they have performed this season, limiting foes to 63.7 pg and 39.9 percent shooting. Cedrick Lindsay (18.6 ppg, 4.5 apg, 2.2 spg) leads the way at both ends of the court, ranking in the top- five in the league in scoring, assists and steals. Kendall Anthony (13.1 ppg) is the only other double-digit scorer on the roster.
Against the winless Big Red, St. Bonaventure had a much easier time. The Bonnies hit an even 50 percent of their shots from the floor, including 10- of-22 from beyond the arc. They also recorded assists on 21 field goals and forced twice as many turnovers (14) as they committed (seven).
Jordan Gathers (8.9 ppg), who is normally a complementary scorer, took the lead against Cornell as he poured in a game-high 20 points, while knocking down 5-of-7 shots from beyond the arc. The showing was encouraging for the Bonnies, who have seven players scoring at least eight ppg. Matthew Wright (16.2 ppg) is still the leading threat, despite shooting less than 40 percent from the floor. Wright drained 4-of-8 tries from 3-point distance against Cornell and finished with 16 points. Charlon Kloof (12.8 ppg, 4.5 apg) is a strong scorer, as well as the team's top passer, and Andell Cumberbatch (11.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and Youssou Ndoye (8.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg) anchor the squad down low.
Richmond has already proven that it can play well on defense, even on the road. Although they have to deal with a number of scoring threats on the SBU roster, the Spiders should be able to hang tough.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: St. Bonaventure 71, Richmond 68
01/08 10:36:47 ET