For a team that lives and dies with the three-point game, there will be nights like Wednesday night. William and Mary went 5-20 from behind the arc en-route to a 92-61 home shellacking at the hands of Richmond.
Couple the College’s inability to shoot with a porous defense, add red-hot Richmond shooting and the result is a drubbing that moves the Tribe to 1-7 on the season. Seemingly a step behind and a second too late for the vast majority of the game, the Tribe defense watched as the Spiders shot an impressive 51.7 percent (15-29) from three-point land and 62.1(36-58) percent from the floor.
“I felt [the Spiders] were incredible,” head coach Tony Shaver said. “I’m embarrassed by our play tonight, I really am. I’ve got to get this team to respond better than we are right now.”
Sophomore forward Tim Rusthoven, playing just his second game after returning from a foot injury, provided most of the Tribe’s bright spots in the first half, finishing the game with a team-high 15 points and 8 rebounds. Alongside Rusthoven, junior guard Matt Rum made his first start of the season, ending the game with 13 points and going 4-5 from the field, 2-3 from behind the arc.
Despite solid individual efforts, the Spiders quickly set the tone and headed into the half with a 26 point lead.
“[Richmond] scoring almost 50 points in the first half is unacceptable, you’re not going to win a game giving up that many points,” Rum said.
The first half saw seven Spider three-point attempts drain the rim. Freshman guard Kendall Anthony led Richmond with 17 points in only 18 minutes of action.
“We got some open shots early to build confidence for people,” Anthony said.
As the second half got under way, the College began to play with a bit more passion. Off the bench, junior guard Doug Howard provided a spark both offensively and defensively. While the offense still sputtered, the defense tightened up.
“We came out fighting a little more, a little more aggressive, we just got to do that for 40 minutes,” Rusthoven said.
Despite the Tribe’s effort, the Spiders continued to maintain their insurmountable lead. With the game well out of reach and Richmond’s reserves on the floor, the College’s freshman talent began to show itself.
Silent for most of the game, freshman guard Marcus Thornton finished with 10 points while going a perfect 4-4 from the free-throw line. Perhaps the only Tribe highlight of the night came on a Thornton steal, after which he flushed a two-handed dunk.
Poor defense by the College and stellar execution by the Spiders wrote the script of the game. Coming off of some injuries to key players, Richmond coach Chris Mooney saw the outcome as a result of great timing for his squad.
“I’m pleased with the win and how we played,” Mooney said, “I think we caught William and Mary on a tough night and made a lot of shots. You’re not going to make 15 three’s too often.”
Aside from a lights-out shooting performance, the Spiders also displayed an intimidating defensive force. Senior center Darrius Garrett lead the cause with five of Richmond’s seven blocks.
“I let [my team] know, don’t get comfortable, stay hungry all night,” Garrett said.
As the College falls to 1-7 on the season, the focus for the players and coach turns to the defensive side of the ball. Richmond dominated the fast break points, 14 to the Tribe’s four, and scored 32 points in the paint. The Spiders had five players score in the double-digits.
“It’s just a question of us being better on defense and [we] got to keep working at it,” Rum said.
Shaver showed more emotion about his team’s effort.
“I think our team was hurt. I thought we got punched in the mouth in the first half and didn’t respond very well — we didn’t stand our ground and fight very well. I think that’s something we’ve always done,” Shaver said.
The College hits the road for the seventh time this season as they visit Georgia State Saturday. The game will begin the College’s CAA conference schedule.