UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. - The Richmond Spiders (15-10, 9-4) return home to face archrival VCU (21-5, 11-2) in the Lumber Liquidators Capital City Classic on Friday night at 9 p.m. in a sold-out Robins Center. The game will air on ESPN2.
The Spiders split road games over the past week, winning at La Salle before losing at George Mason on Tuesday. UR is still third in the Atlantic 10 standings, two games behind VCU and Dayton.
Richmond is 15-17 all-time against VCU in the Robins Center, winning three of the last five meetings at home. Three of the last four have gone to overtime and Richmond's average point margin in the last four home games is +1.25.
The Spiders have been incredibly efficient scoring inside the three-point line. UR ranks 13th in the country with a two-point shooting percentage of 55.4. UR's assist per field goals made of 62.3 ranks 14th nationally.
T.J. Cline ranks 11th in the country in assist rate and 25th in percentage of possessions used. He has averaged 19.3 points (4th in A-10), 8.3 rebounds (3rd in A-10) and 5.4 assists (2nd in A-10).
The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 and fans can watch online through the WatchESPN app. Mike Corey and Kyle Macy will be on the call.
The game will also be on the radio on ESPN 950 AM, 107.3 BBT, Sirius Satellite Channel 145, XM Satellite Channel 201, SiriusXM Internet 961 and streamed on RichmondSpiders.com.will call the action over the radio airwaves.
|2016-17 SPIDER MEN'S BASKETBALL GAMEDAY CENTRAL - VCU
|Who||Richmond Spiders (15-10, 9-4) vs. VCU Rams (21-5, 11-2)|
|When||Friday, February 17, 9 p.m.|
|Venue||Robins Center (7,201)|
|TV||ESPN2 | WatchESPN|
|On Air||Mike Corey, Kyle Macy
|Live Stats||Click Here|
VCU comes to the Robins Center on a seven-game winning streak after dispatching Saint Joseph's on Tuesday. JeQuan Lewis hit nine threes in that contest and currently leads the team with 15.6 points per game. Justin Tillman averages 12.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. The Rams shoot 47.2 percent from the field which leads the league.
Series vs. VCU
VCU leads the all-time series 49-28 over Richmond. The Rams are 17-15 all-time at the Robins Center, but Richmond has won three of the last five at home.
The Spiders have been racking up Atlantic 10 Weekly Awards. UR swept the awards three weeks ago with Cline winning Co-Player of the Week and Buckingham earning his second-straight Rookie of the Week. Cline then won his fourth Player of the Week honor two weeks ago, the most of any player in the league.
Two weeks ago, Cline was tabbed by the USBWA as the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week after his triple-double. It marked the first national player of the week honor for any Spider.
After coming close on three occasions, T.J. Cline finally broke through for the first-ever triple-double in school history against Duquesne. He scored 34 points with 12 rebounds and 11 assists.
It marked just the sixth time that any NCAA DI player has reached 30 points in a triple-double in the last 20 years. Of those six players, Cline was the only one to do it in regulation.
T.J. Cline is currently averaging 19.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game.
Cline is the only player in the NCAA to post 19-8-5 in points, rebounds and assists. He has more assists than any player in the country his height or taller and ranks 11th in the nation with an assist rate of 39.0.
A preseason All-A-10 First Teamer, Cline ranks fourth in the league in points, third in rebounds and second in assists, making his case for Player of the Year honors.
Cline is putting together one of the best seasons in recent memory in rebounding as Charles Stephens (1997-98) was the last Spider to average over eight rebounds a game for an entire season (8.3).
Cline has tallied 10 double-doubles this season, more than any other Spider since 1987-88 when Peter Woolfolk tallied 13. He is second in the A-10 and 32nd in the country in double-doubles.
Batman and Robin
Cline's partner in crime the past three years has been fellow senior ShawnDre' Jones. Jones also scored 30 points in UR's win over Duquesne, the first time a pair of Spiders have each scored 30 in a game in Mooney's tenure. Jones then followed it up with a gutsy 30-point effort at VCU.
Jones is averaging 16.9 points per game and 4.3 assists per game, ranking top 10 in the league in both categories. His assist-turnover ratio of 2.0 ranks fourth in the league.
Jones and Cline are the third-highest scoring duo in the Atlantic 10.
Jones became the first player in Richmond history to top 1,400 points, 300 assists and 200 three-pointers made.
Defending The Line
Richmond has done a fantastic job defending the three-point line this season. It's even more impressive considering the improvement from last year. Last season, Richmond ranked 267th in three-point defense. This year, the Spiders rank 13th in the nation by holding opponents to just 30.2 percent from long range.
The Spiders have always run an offense with constant motion and crisp passes that lead to shots in rhythm. Richmond is at its best when every player on the court is setting up someone else for a shot.
The Spiders lead the league in assists (16.6) and assist-turnover ratio (1.3). Richmond has dished more or same assists than the opponent in 21 of the season's 25 games. In Atlantic 10 play, the Spiders have averaged 17.7 assists per game.
UR ranks 14th in the country in assist-to-FG percentage of 62.3.
Against Rhode Island, Nick Sherod and De'Monte Buckingham became the first pair of freshmen starters in the Spider lineup since the 2007-08 season (Kevin Anderson, Kevin Smith).
The two have been a vital part of Richmond's success in A-10 play. Buckingham is averaging 10.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists in A-10 play, while Sherod has 9.6 points and 1.9 rebounds.
Over the last nine games, Buckingham has averaged 7.7 rebounds per game. Sherod has reached double figures in five of the last seven games with back-to-back outputs of 16 and 18 points. Buckingham won two A-10 Rookie of the Week awards.
Although quiet off the court, Khwan Fore can make a big statement on it. His rim-rattling dunks can make big statements when coming from a 6-0 guard. He had three such dunks in the second half at Dayton. He is Richmond's most athletic player pound-for-pound.
He exploded for a career-high 24 points against George Washington, scoring on dribble drives and pull-up jumpers at the elbow.
In A-10 play, Fore has averaged 11.8 points with 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists. He ranks eighth in the league with 1.6 steals per game.
In Richmond's four A-10 road wins, the Spiders have built leads of 18, 21, 18 and 15 points in the second half. In each instance, the home team has made it a one-possession game in the final 10 minutes. However, Richmond has been able to make winning plays in each instance down the stretch.
The Spiders are 14-1 when holding a lead with five minutes remaining. UR has overcome double-digit deficits in three of the teams' wins, and only given up a double-digit lead in a loss once to then-ranked Maryland.
In the last five minutes of games, UR has shot 48.8 percent from the field and 76.1 percent from the line. Jones leads the team with 4.4 points in the last five minutes of games.
Climbing The Record Books
ShawnDre' Jones and T.J. Cline continue to climb Richmond's all-time record book.
Cline has now scored 1,481 career points at Richmond, with Jones right behind him at 1,444. Adding his points from his freshman year at Niagara, Cline has totaled 1,743 career points.
Jones moved into sixth place all-time with 204 career three-pointers. Jones now also has 335 assists for his career, ranking ninth all-time.
Jones is now 15th all-time in the career scoring list. Seven of the top 15 scorers have graduated since 2010.