UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. - The Richmond Spiders (21-12) earned a chance to play one more game in the Robins Center.
After defeating Alabama on the road in the NIT First Round, UR earned a home game against Oakland (25-8) after the seventh-seeded Golden Grizzlies knocked off Clemson on the road. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. on Sunday night on ESPNU.
Richmond makes its ninth appearance in the NIT and the second in three seasons. The Spiders are 9-8 all-time in the NIT and advanced to the quarterfinals in 2002 and 2015. Richmond has played in the postseason seven times in the last 10 seasons, winning eight total games.
The Spider offense ran Alabama's vaunted defense to the tune of 71 points and 54 percent shooting. Alabama's defense ranked 13th in the country in efficiency entering the game.
De'Monte Buckingham has averaged 15.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.5 spg and shot 19-35 from three over the last seven games. UR has gone 6-1 in those games.
Sunday marks the first meeting between Oakland and Richmond in program history.The game will air on ESPNU with Mike Corey and Mark Plansky on the call. Fans can watch online through the Watch ESPN app.
The game will also be on the radio on ESPN 950 AM, 107.3 BBT and RichmondSpiders.com.will call the action over the radio airwaves.
|2016-17 SPIDER MEN'S BASKETBALL GAMEDAY CENTRAL - OAKLAND
|Who||Richmond Spiders (21-12) vs. Oakland Golden Grizzlies (25-8)|
|When||Sunday, March 19, 7:30 p.m.|
|Venue||Robins Center (7,201)|
|TV||ESPNU | Watch Online|
|On Air||Mike Corey, Mark Plansky
|Live Stats||Click Here|
The Golden Grizzlies won the Horizon League regular season title before falling in their first tournament game against Youngstown State.
Oakland ranks third in their league in both scoring offense (78.7) and scoring defense (72.2), while leading the league in 3-point defense (29.6 percent), assists (16.2) and steals (8.1).
Martez Walker leads the Golden Grizzlies with 17.5 points per game. Walker was an All-Horizon League Second Team selection, while Jalen Hayes (15.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg) was selected to the first team.
Series vs. Oakland
Sunday marks the first meeting between Richmond and Oakland.
Richmond In The NIT
Richmond is making its ninth trip to the NIT and second in three seasons. UR is 9-8 all-time in the tournament, advancing to the quarterfinals in 2002 and 2015 at home. The Spiders have picked up a number of NIT victories over power-conference teams including Alabama, Arizona State, Minnesota and West Virginia.
Small But Mighty
Richmond uses a lineup with four of five starters standing at 6-4 or shorter. The Spiders' first player off the bench is 6-3 Julius Johnson. However, 6-0 Khwan Fore led the Spiders in rebounds in the A-10 tournament and 6-4 Nick Sherod was second. UR's defense forces 14.3 turnovers per game and the Spiders are 31st in the country in turnover margin.
The Spiders were dominant at home in conference play. In those nine games, UR went 7-2 and averaged 80.2 points a game with a +6.4 scoring margin. UR shot 47.5 percent from the field, averaged 9.0 threes per game and held a +4.1 turnover advantage. T.J. Cline averaged 20.2 points and shot 55.1 percent from the field in A-10 home games, with Jones right behind him at 17.9 ppg. The Spiders also averaged 18.0 assists per game.
Richmond senior T.J. Cline was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and freshman De'Monte Buckingham was tabbed Rookie of the Year. Along with Cline on the First Team and Buckingham on the Rookie team, ShawnDre' Jones was named All-A-10 Third Team.
Richmond became the first team since 1988, and just the third team in A-10 history, to boast both the Player and Rookie of the Year on the same team.
With Cline on the First Team, the Spiders have now had five First Team honorees since 2010, more than any other A-10 program over that stretch.
Cline was also named the Richmond-Times Dispatch Virginia State Player of the Year and earned a spot on the All-Virginia First Team. He is the fifth Spider to win State Player of the Year honors all-time.
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.
On Senior Day, Cline broke through again, tallying 19 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. He is one of just two players with two triple-doubles in the NCAA this year.
Cline has more assists than any player in the country his height or taller and ranks 10th in the nation with an assist rate of 38.0. His 185 assists on the season rank 3rd all-time at Richmond as he now trails Greg Beckwith's school by 15 dimes.
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 11 double-doubles this season, more than any other Spider since 1987-88 when Peter Woolfolk tallied 13.
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. He is tied for second in the A-10 with three 30-point games this year.
Jones is averaging 17.0 points per game and 3.9 assists per game, ranking top 10 in the league in both categories. His assist-turnover ratio of 2.0 ranks eighth 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 1,500 points, 300 assists and 200 three-pointers made.
Jones earned his first All-Conference honor this year after winning Atlantic 10 Sixth Man of the Year accolades in 2015. He was named All-A-10 Third Team this year.
The Buck Stops Here
The Atlantic 10's Rookie of the Year, De'Monte Buckingham has been outstanding since entering the starting lineup at JMU (12/20).
He tallied the most rebounds (188) of any Spider freshman since Charles Stephens in 1998.
Over the last seven games, Buckingham has averaged 15.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.5 steals. He has shot 19-35 from three over that stretch as UR has gone 6-1.
Although quiet off the court, Khwan Fore can make a big statement on it. His rim-rattling dunks can be momentum shifters when coming from a 6-0 guard. He had three such dunks in the second half at Dayton and two against Davidson. He is Richmond's most athletic player pound-for-pound with a 45-inch vertical.
He exploded for a career-high 24 points against George Washington, scoring on dribble drives and pull-up jumpers at the elbow. He then dished a career-high 12 assists at Fordham, the most by any Spider since 1996. In the A-10 quarterfinals, Fore scored 14 points and had the game-winning steal and layin as the clock expired.
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 30th in the nation by holding opponents to just 31.5 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 (16.7) and assist-turnover ratio (1.4). Richmond has dished more or same assists than the opponent in 26 of the season's 33 games. In Atlantic 10 play, the Spiders averaged 18.1 assists per game.
UR ranks ninth in the country in assist-to-FG percentage of 62.8. The Spiders led the league in assist-turnover ratio last year and ranked second the year before.