Belmont (1-0) at Richmond (1-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 11, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Robins Center (9,071) -- Richmond, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: Belmont 0-0, Richmond 1-0. Away Record: Belmont 1-0, Richmond 0-0. Neutral Record: Belmont 0-0, Richmond 0-0. Conference Record: Belmont 0-0, Richmond 0-0. Series Record: Richmond leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Richmond Spiders will continue their season-opening four-game homestand on Monday night, as they entertain the Belmont Bruins as part of the Hall of Fame Tipoff.
Belmont opened the 2013-14 campaign against former Atlantic Sun Conference foe and fellow Nashville school Lipscomb on Friday night in the 133rd annual "Battle of the Boulevard," and while it was put to the test, the team escaped with an 87-83 win. The Bruins have formulated a dynasty of sorts in recent seasons under head coach Rick Byrd with NCAA Tournament appearances in six of the past eight years, including 2013 after winning the Ohio Valley Conference in their first season as a member.
Richmond has also been a strong mid-major competitor of late. After logging a 19-15 record a season ago (8-8 in the Atlantic 10), it advanced to the CBI for its fifth postseason appearance in the last six years. The 2013-14 campaign got off to a strong start on Friday for the Spiders, and although they saw an 11-point second-half advantage to Delaware disappear down the stretch, a pair of free throws by Kendall Anthony with two second left sealed a 71-69 win.
These two teams met just once before, with Richmond coming away with a 115-73 win back in December of 1954.
The Bruins put forth an outstanding effort at the offensive end of the court last season, shooting 49.1 percent from the field and scoring more than 77 points per game, but with the loss of their three top scorers in the offseason (Ian Clark, Kerron Johnson, Trevor Noack), some fresh faces are going to need to step up. In the opener, it was JJ Mann who led the way, playing all 40 minutes and tallying 21 points, although he was ice-cold from 3-point range (0-of-8). The balanced effort for Belmont saw all five starters score in double figures. Drew Windler made all five of his field goal attempts, including four from long distance, for 16 points. Reece Chamberlain netted 14 points thanks to an active, albeit ineffective night from the free-throw line (8-of-15). Craig Bradshaw put up 11 points, and Blake Jenkins narrowly missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Despite allowing Lipscomb to shoot greater than 52 percent from the field, they were able to make up for it by forcing 24 turnovers.
The Spiders have seen better shooting days than the one they experienced in the season opener. Although their overall field goal percentage was decent (.431), they were off the mark from 3-point range (3-of-19), and Anthony's clutch late free throws saved a lackluster showing by the team as a whole at the line (18-of-27). Cedrick Lindsay, Richmond's top returning scorer from a season ago (12.0 ppg), was outstanding with 20 points on 8-of-12 field goal efficiency, while also adding three steals. Alonzo Ododa-Nelson logged 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, while Terry Allen posted 11 points and nine rebounds. The Spiders showed a lack of discipline against Delaware by committing 26 personal fouls, and allowing the Blue Hens to attempt 37 free throws.
Despite earning victories, neither team was its sharpest on Friday night, but these veteran squads will more than likely work out the kinks as the season goes along. Expect this one to go down to the wire with Belmont pulling out the impressive road victory with a few clutch buckets down the stretch.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Belmont 76, Richmond 74
11/11 10:37:55 ET