UR now knows how VCU felt

After coming back from a seven-point deficit in the last 30 seconds of regulation and beating VCU in overtime on Thursday night, the University of Richmond experienced a late-game fade at Massachusetts on Sunday afternoon.
The Spiders’ last field goal came with 6:24 remaining, and they fell 70-65 before 5,467 at the Mullins Center, in Amherst, Mass.
Richmond (13-8, 3-3 in the A-10) led 63-56 with 6:02 left, following two free throws from 6-foot-9 redshirt freshman Alonzo Nelson-Ododa.
“We had the game right there to take it,” said Spiders forward Greg Robbins (10 points, 6 assists).
The rest of the way, UR scored two points, on free throws by 5-8 sophomore Kendall Anthony with 15.6 seconds remaining. In the final six minutes, the Spiders missed all nine of their shots from the field (four 3-point attempts), and committed two turnovers.
“We had good opportunities,” said UR coach Chris Mooney. “The one thing we wanted to do was stay aggressive against the press. One of the worst things you can do is just become a little bit tentative. When they’re pressing you, they’re kind of giving you opportunities to go to the basket.
“I thought we did that. I thought we missed a couple of layups. We had a couple of shots not go down, but all good shots … I thought we did everything but kind of convert around the basket, or from 3.”
UR’s Darien Brothers was making 50 percent of his 3-point attempts, and Anthony was converting 43 percent. Together, Richmond’s best shooters missed 12 of 13 from 3-point distance against a UMass team with impressive length at all positions except point guard. At that spot, the Minutemen feature one of the league’s best players. Chaz Wiliams, a 5-9 junior, scored 18, and had 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals (7 turnovers).
UMass (13-5, 3-2 in A-10) shot 52 percent, and Richmond made 36 percent.
“I thought we played really well, really hard. I thought we made some good things happen,” said Mooney. “I thought we defended well, even though we’re a little bit undersized. They were really trying to jam the ball inside.”
The Minutemen got 12 points from 6-9, 250-pound reserve Cady Lalanne, and 10 from 6-8, 220-pound starting center Sampson Carter. Together, they made 8 of 12 from the field.
“I think that even though we’re smaller, we still have about equal strength,” said Robbins. “We’ve beaten teams that have been much bigger than us.”
UMass hadn’t played since Jan. 19, and started with greater energy than Richmond. The Minutemen led 12-3. UR charged behind 6-3 sophomore Wayne Sparrow, who tied his career-high with 13 points. All came in the first half, when Sparrow hit three 3-pointers.
The Spiders, down 34-29 at the break, played their seventh game without 6-6, 270-pound junior Derrick Williams (ankle injury).
“This has been a pretty consistent theme. I think we’re playing hard. I think we have some good guys,” said Mooney. “And I really think as our young guys come along, and looking forward to when Derrick gets back, I really think we could do some things.”
The Spiders play at Temple (13-6, 2-3 in A-10) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Williams is not expected back for another week or two.