Richmond and Belmont are two mid-major teams that have made plenty of noise and great memories over the years. Tonight those two programs went head to head in their first game as part of the Hall of Fame Tip Off Tournament.
Both squads came into the evening match up off a win. Richmond narrowly escaped Delaware at home with a two point win Friday night, while Belmont took care of business against crosstown rival Lipscomb.
Richmond's Robins Center was renovated during the offseason and actually reduced it's seating. The arena, which opened up in 1970, went from 9,000 plus seats to just over 6,700. The first thing that was noticeable right off the bat, besides the new video screens and arena design, was the acoustics of the building. The seating was a lot more intimate and the stadium was a lot louder despite the sparse crowd.
Neither team could separate themselves in the first half, as the Spiders went into halftime up 34-31. Wayne Sparrow was particularly impressive in the first half leading Richmond with 9 points.
Despite growing to a 13 point lead in the second half, Sparrow and the Spiders were ice cold from beyond the arc. Sparrow would end the evening 1 for 7, while the team would finish 3 for 21. Richmond's tough defense and performance on the offensive glass would keep them on top though.
Hometown hero Trey Davis would seemingly ice the game with 1:13 remaining putting the Spiders up 61-54 with a hoop and the harm. Belmont would not go away though and the Spiders failed to execute at the free throw line. Reece Chamberlein got the Bruins within three points with just 27 seconds left.
Unfortunately, for Bruins' fans, Richmond would begin making their free throws and pull away with a 69-61 victory. Terry Allen would pace the Spiders with 16 points and 7 rebounds. Cedrick Lindsay would also add 15 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds despite a rough shooting night.
From here, Richmond will host Big Ten opponent Minnesota on Saturday night at the Robins Center. Belmont will look to recover with another solid mid-major match up against Indiana State on Thursday night in Nashville.