Richmond (4-1) at Ohio University (4-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 24, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (13,080) -- Athens, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Richmond 4-0, Ohio 4-0. Away Record: Richmond 0-1, Ohio 0-0. Neutral Record: Richmond 0-0, Ohio 0-0. Conference Record: Richmond 0-0, Ohio 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Richmond Spiders try to hand the Ohio University Bobcats their first loss of the season when the two meet at the Convocation Center in Athens on Saturday for a non-conference showdown.
The Spiders bounced back from their first setback of the season with a 64-58 victory over Wofford on Tuesday. Richmond began the season with double-digit victories over Liberty (84-42), UNC Wilmington (101-58) and Hampton (68-58). However, it was unable to carry that success with it on the road to the Land of 10,000 Lakes and dropped a 72-57 decision to Minnesota. Chris Mooney has been sensational since becoming the Spiders' head coach. Under Mooney, the Spiders have averaged 21 wins per season over the last five years and reached the Sweet 16 in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. However, the team took a step backward and finished last season with a .500 record.
Ohio made a surprising run last season under John Groce to the Sweet 16 and came up just short versus North Carolina. Due to the success, Groce was highly sought after by larger programs and decided to leave the team to take over the vacated spot at Illinois. Groce's departure opened up the door for Jim Christian to step in and take the reins of the team. So far so good for Christian, as his Bobcats are 4-0 after a 75-67 win over Hampton. Ohio opened the season with wins over Portland (81-52), UNCW (85-47) and Wofford (73-50).
This bout marks the first meeting between these two schools in men's basketball.
Richmond is one of the top teams in the Atlantic 10 Conference at both ends of the floor, as it is averaging 74.8 ppg on 44.1 percent shooting from the field, while holding its opposition to 57.6 ppg. The Spiders didn't shoot the ball particularly well the last time out, making just 19-of-48 from the floor, including a dismal 4-of-18 on three-point attempts. Anthony Kendall led the way versus Wofford with 24 points on an efficient 8-of-13 shooting night. Darien Brothers was the second-leading scorer in the contest with 13 points, and Alonzo Nelson-Ododo contributed a double-double of 10 points and 11 boards. Anthony and Brothers have both provided scoring on a regular basis with respective averages of 15.2 and 14.8 points per game.
The Bobcats have been well-balanced during their strong start, as five different players are carrying double-digit scoring averages into this game. Ivo Baltic leads the way with 13.8 ppg, and although his contribution to the team is helpful, there is no doubt that D.J. Cooper is the engine that makes OU go. The senior point guard is producing 13.5 points, 7.3 assists, and three steals per contest in the early going. Reggie Keely, Walter Offut and Nick Kellogg are the three other Bobcats scoring over 10 per contest. The group effort has led to a massive +24.5 average margin of victory.
The Spiders' climb back to the top of the A-10 is in progress, but it will take a temporary hiatus in Athens on Saturday. Ohio is firing on all cylinders right now and will crack the Top-25 sooner rather than later if it keeps it up.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 77, Richmond 68
11/24 10:37:26 ET