With an overtime win against Fordham in first meeting this season, Chris Mooney and Richmond look for sweep tomorrow at Robins Center. (Photo courtesy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Five weeks ago tomorrow, the University of Richmond stole an overtime victory it absolutely had to have at Rose Hill Gym, surviving a scrappy Fordham team that was left to ponder how it would turn the corner after Kendall Anthony drained a three-pointer from the right wing with 13 seconds remaining in the extra session for the final margin of a 77-74 win for the Spiders.
One month later, Richmond is a different team, having used the Fordham game as an opportunity to build upward momentum en route to their 6-3 start in Atlantic 10 play, having won five of seven since picking up their first A-10 win against the Rams. However, the man who makes their motor run is no longer around to do so, with Cedrick Lindsay missing his third straight game after a torn meniscus sidelined him for the remainder of the season after the Spiders were soundly defeated by crosstown rival and A-10 favorite VCU.
In his absence, Anthony has become more of a scorer, with four 20-point games in his last six to boost his average to 15.5 points per game on the season, while Richmond has relied on their interior presence to stay in games as well. Look for heavy doses of Terry Allen once again tomorrow, especially after an 18-point, seven-rebound outburst off the bench at Rose Hill last month. For the Rams, who come into this contest at 2-8 in Atlantic 10 play and 9-14 on the year, it is a chance to bounce back from what head coach Tom Pecora called "as disappointing a loss" as he had had at Fordham, the latest setback being a 76-65 defeat to a St. Bonaventure team that avenged their home loss to the Rams last year, one that kept the 2012 A-10 champions from defending their crown.
Despite the heroic efforts from Branden Frazier and Mandell Thomas in the loss, Pecora may finally relent to playing a bigger lineup after Fordham's guards managed just eight rebounds between them Wednesday night. Facing a bigger and stronger Richmond front line that will likely start Derrick Williams and Alonzo Nelson-Ododa alongside either Trey Davis or Deion Taylor, while also bringing Allen off the bench, a two-forward lineup may actually be the better decision for business, with Ryan Rhoomes and Travion Leonard the likely choices for the Rams in that scenario.
With five more conference games remaining after this one, the next two coming against Saint Joseph's and VCU, there is no time like the present for Fordham, but they face a stern test against a legitimate Atlantic 10 contender in Richmond that will ultimately serve as a new beginning of sorts, either the beginning of a change in fortune or the beginning of the end of yet another long season.