University of Richmond (20-6,10-3 Atlantic 10): 65
George Mason (14-12,3-10 Atlantic 10): 50
For the 21st time in program history and the first time since 2016-17, the University of Richmond men’s basketball team reached the 20-win plateau in a season as the Spiders used a strong defensive performance to pull away from visiting George Mason for a 65-50 win Wednesday night in Atlantic 10 play at the Robins Center. The victory keeps the Spiders in sole possession of third place in the A-10 and ups their record to 20-6 overall and 10-3 in league play.
The Patriots 50 points were their second-fewest in any game this season and their 19 turnovers were tied for their second-most in any contest this year. “I thought our defense was excellent,” coach Chris Mooney said. “Mason scored on us earlier in the year and they have some guys that are difficult to guard.” George Mason was the fifth straight Spiders opponent to fail to reach 60 points, Richmond’s longest stretch of keeping opponents under 60 since 2011.
Junior forward Grant Golden (Winchester, Va.) led the Spiders with a team-high 21 points in the win, his fourth game this season with 20 or more points. Golden finished 8-of-11 shooting from the field and a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line while grabbing seven rebounds. Golden also moved into the top 20 on the Spiders all-time scoring list, passing Dan Geriot and Kelvin Johnson. He is now 20th in school history with 1,406 career points.
“We definitely wanted to go inside,” said Mooney. “Grant is just difficult to defend. When teams double him, he’s a very good passer. He has a really good sense for how to play. He’s incredibly helpful. With most big guys, you’re constantly helping them. I think Grant is incredibly helpful to everybody else on the floor.”
Redshirt junior guard Blake Francis (Herndon, Va.) added 14 points as five different Spiders scored eight or more points. Sophomore guard Andre Gustavson (Helsinki, Finland) added nine points off the bench — all in the second half — while junior guard Nick Sherod (Richmond, Va.) scored eight points.
The Spiders struck early, posting an early 10-0 run and taking a 17-7 lead less than seven minutes into the game. Golden started hot for Richmond, scoring six-straight in the run while Francis added the last four points to extend the lead to double figures. George Mason settled in and the game slowed for the remainder of the first half with the Spiders holding a 26-19 lead at the halftime break.
The Spiders continued to add to their lead and extended it to 15 points with a 10-2 run early in the second half, taking a 50-35 advantage. Junior forward Nathan Cayo (Montreal, Quebec) and Golden converted three-point plays in the post while Gustavson capped the run with a basket on the fast break.
Richmond maintained the lead down the stretch with its defensive effort. The Spiders held George Mason to only 39.1 percent (18-of-46) shooting from the field and just 23.5 percent (4-of-17) from deep.
The Spiders 20-6 overall record is their best through 26 games since 2010-11 and their five straight wins represent Richmond’s longest conference win streak since January 2018. Next, Richmond hits the road for two-straight games beginning Saturday when it travels to St. Bonaventure for a 6:30 p.m. contest airing nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
Will you help support independent, local journalism?
We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.