Somewhere in the bowels of the Siegel Center is a vat of whatever it is that Shaka Smart pumps into the Virginia Commonwealth Rams to make sure they can keep running and running and running down their opponents.
It must have been early in the morning when Richmond's Kendall Anthony stumbled onto the room where they keep this vat and drank as much of the secret elixer that he could.
He quickly filled a water bottle with some more and ran off to find the rest of his Spider teammates, but along the way, he tripped and spilled what he had gathered. All except a few swigs.
So when he gathered with Richmond in the locker room before the game, all he was able to do was to give a little bit of what he had tasted to Cedrick Lindsay.
Oh, if Anthony hadn't fallen on his way through the Siegel Center. Oh, if he could have found a way to power his teammates.
Maybe they wouldn't have gotten run over by the Rams, 81-70, in front of a raucous crowd that rarely laid off the boys in blue.
You see, Anthony had the drive and the tenacity to keep fighting against the Virginia Commonwealth defense. He penetrated the lane; he stood tall and took shots against taller defenders -- because everyone he faces is taller than his 5-8 frame. He scored a career high 31 points, almost doubling his season average, and almost had enough to will his team back into this game, and to a victory.
The little taste that Cedrick Lindsay got gave him just enough to add 21 points to the Spiders' total. But he missed chances early, perhaps because he hadn't quite had enough of the magic juice.
That wasn't the case for VCU, who came out of the gate hard and didn't let off the gas for more than a few minutes to start the second half.
There was the sequence early in the first half, when Juvonte Reddic powered by the energy emanating from the crowd blocked two shots on the same Richmond trip, stopping a comeback that was in the works after the Rams had laid the smack down early. His final line: 10 points, 10 boards (seven on the offensive end), four blocks.
There was the two-minute stretch in the second half when Treveon Graham scored six points, and grabbed two defensive rebounds, all while annoying the offense of Richmond. His final line: 13 points, eight rebounds.
Or what about Briante Weber, who also had his turn to shine, with a minute long stretch that featured a block, a rebound, and a drive to the hoop for a layup. Weber then pressured the heck out of Anthony in the backcourt and forced a jumpball as he and the Spiders star rolled on the ground. He would get the ball at the top of the arc on the next possession, calmly step inside the ring and swish a jumper. He turned to the crowd and pumped his arms in the air, his signature white headband barely clinging to his brow as he screamed and gestured. Final line: 14 points, five steals, and that block.
There was more from Mo Alie-Cox and Melvin Johnson, and and and. There was no end to the energy that VCU had Saturday morning, and that made the difference against a Richmond team that looked lifeless when things started to get out of control.
Lifeless except for the backcourt of Lindsay and Anthony, who did everything that two players could do to withstand the pressure and keep the Spiders alive.
They just eventually ran out of juice.
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