Opponent: Richmond Spiders
League: Atlantic 10 Conference
The Minutemen traveled to Virginia in their final road game of the regular season to face their last place counterparts, the Richmond Spiders. The Spiders quickly jumped put to a 10-0 lead led by Grant Golden before C.J. Anderson steadied the tide with three pointers for UMass. The personal 9-2 run for Anderson put the Minutemen within striking distance (12-9). In his return back from concussion protocol, Luwane Pipkins (14 points, 5-17 FG) began to find his shot, nailing two additional threes. In fact, Pipkins and Anderson were the only players to put points on the board for the Minutemen in the first nine minutes and these five three pointers (5) made up all of the scoring. Shortly after, Malik Hines (8 points) broke this trend with a layup at the 10:27 mark to tie the game at nineteen. Anderson remained on fire for the majority of the half to keep UMass afloat. The dynamic senior leader had his most complete offensive half of the season, hitting mid range jumpers and attacking the basket to the tune of 18 points on 7/8 shooting for the period. Nonetheless, Golden poured in sixteen points of his own and Richmond scraped together a 9-2 run in the final four minutes to regain momentum and head into the locker room with a 40-32 lead
The second half was a complete and utter meltdown for the Minutemen as they really struggled on the defensive end of the floor. A minute into the period, Nick Sherod (19 points, 7 rebounds) nailed a jumper to stretch the Spiders advantage back to double digits, where it would remain for the rest of the game. The UMass offense went stagnant as well, even Anderson and Pipkins failing to find their shot. With just over seventeen minutes remaining, the Spiders reeled off an impressive 10-0 run for the second time on the evening to push the lead to twenty and kill any momentum for Mass. Richmond didn’t do anything too special on the offensive end, but they were extremely efficient and received valuable contributions from complimentary scorers De’Monte Buckingham (13 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) and Jacob Gilyard (13 Points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals). In all, they assisted on twenty seven field goals and took tremendous care of the basketball, limiting themselves to just six turnovers. The Spiders even received extremely rare bench contributions, as Nathan Cayo delivered a valuable spark with eight points. For UMass, Carl Pierre (11 points, 3-13 FG) who struggled mightily in the first, began to heat up, but the deficit was far too great to overcome. The Richmond lead would stretch to as much as twenty nine before concluding with a final score of 90-65.
The loss marks the sixth a row as the Minutemen continue to sputter down the stretch and in the second half of this season as a whole. As expected, the length of the strenuous A-10 season has clearly gotten the better of a young and inexperienced squad. In this one, it was evident that the Spiders had a super talent advantage and they proved that they are far better than their bottom dwelling record suggests. A very young team in their own right, Richmond should be very good for many years to come. The main difference tonight was highlighted in a number of key matchups. At the forward position Golden dominated Hines as he led all scorers with twenty-six points and out rebounded the Umass big 11-2. As mentioned early, the complimentary guards of Buckingham and Gilyard established their aggression and playmaking abilities outscoring Ray Miller and Unique McLean (26-4) while distributing effectively a much higher rate (12 assists vs 2). The Minutemen were led by C.J Anderson who recorded his fourth twenty point game of the season and third in the last five games. The Senior is finally finding his scoring touch late in the season which is fantastic to see. Backup Quarterback Randall West led the team with six rebounds.
Team Stats: UMass Richmond
Field Goals: 23-55 (41.8%) 36-63 (57.1%)
3 Point Field Goals: 9-23 (39.1%) 8-18 (44.4%)
Free Throws: 10-13 (76.9%) 10-11 (90.9%)
Rebounds: 31 (9) 32 (6)
Assists: 10 27
Turnovers: 15 6
– Regular season finale versus the Duquesne Dukes on Saturday, March 3rd at the Mullins Center