University of Richmond (22-7,12-4 Atlantic 10): 95
University of Massachusetts (13-16,7-9 Atlantic 10): 71
All five Spiders starters scored in double figures as Richmond’s men’s basketball team picked up its 22nd win of the season Saturday evening with a dominant 95-71 victory over Massachusetts in Atlantic 10 action in front of a sellout crowd at Robins Center. The Spiders have won seven out of their last eight games heading into the regular season home finale Tuesday night against Davidson.
Richmond is 22-7 this season, tied for the seventh-most wins in a campaign in school history and tied for the Spiders third-most wins in 15 seasons under coach Chris Mooney. The 24-point win was Richmond’s 10th win by 15 or more points at the Robins Center this season, tied with 1954-55 for the most 15-point home wins in a season in school history.
“I think our defense from the beginning of the game was energetic and physical and really good and that set the tone,” said coach Chris Mooney.
The Spiders came out of the gate quickly, opening an early 18-8 lead as they connected on eight out of their first nine field goals of the game. Junior guard Nick Sherod (Richmond, Va.) started it off with an early three-pointer while junior forward Nathan Cayo (Montreal, Quebec) scored six early points, including back-to-back dunks to get the crowd into the game from the start. Defensively, the Spiders limited UMass freshman forward Tre Mitchell, the leading candidate for A-10 Rookie of the Year, to a 1-8 start from the field.
Richmond took firm control of the game with a 14-0 run later in the half, grabbing a 32-13 lead and forcing the Minutemen to spend their second timeout. Junior forward Grant Golden (Winchester, Va.) scored five points early in the run while sophomore guard Jake Wojcik (San Jose, Calif.) hit a pair of three-pointers.
The Spiders continued to pour it on from there, extending the lead to as many as 26 points on their way to a 49-26 lead at the break. Golden got hot late in the first half, scoring 13 points in the opening 20 minutes and capping his half with a three-pointer. The Spiders shot 63.3 percent (19-of-30) from the field in the first half while limiting UMass to just 32.3 percent (10-of-31) shooting.
The Spiders quickly extended their lead in the second half to 28 points just five minutes into the period as junior guards Blake Francis (Herndon, Va.) and Jacob Gilyard (Kansas City, Mo.) each hit from behind the three-point line. The lead would bloom to as many as 31 in the second half as the Spiders controlled the action and kept the Minutemen off balance on defense, coasting to a 95-71 win.
Richmond rotated players in and out, with only Gilyard playing more than 30 minutes and 10 different players scoring a point. Francis finished with a game-high 20 points for his seventh 20-point effort of the season. Gilyard recorded his second career double-double with 10 points and 10 assists, tying a career high. He also broke his own school single-season steals record, collecting four to finish the game with 92 steals this season, eclipsing the 89 he recorded in 2017-18.
Golden added 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists while only playing 22 minutes in the impressive win. Sherod chipped in 16 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting from the field, including a pair of three-pointers. Cayo finished with 14 points and eight rebounds and was nearly perfect from the field, making six of his seven shots, as Richmond hit 55 percent of its field goals attempts in the game (32-58).
Richmond is now 13-2 at home this season, tied for the sixth-most home wins in a season in school history. Their final home game of the season will be Tuesday night at 7 PM against Davidson on NBC Sports Washington Plus and ESPN Plus.
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.