In my Atlantic 10 preview this fall I was VERY high on the Richmond Spiders and thought they were a true dark horse pick. Kendall Anthony was back, ShawnDre Jones was a young guard with a lot of experience, and Terry Allen and Alonzo Nelson-Ododa formed a really tough frontcourt combo. The Spiders took down South Alabama last night to move to 5-4 on the season and 5-0 inside the Robins Center. Despite the win the same woes continued to plague the Richmond.
The Spiders are now ranked 302nd in the country when it comes to scoring averaging just over 61 points per game. Chris Mooney decided to insert Niagara transfer T.J. Cline into the starting lineup before a game against Howard last weeks in hopes to jump start the Spiders offense. Instead Richmond scored 54 and 65 points against the Bison and South Alabama respectively.
You can also see Mooney starting to insert Josh Jones and Kadeem Smithen more into the lineup at this point in the season. Expect that trend to continue with a Saturday contest against Pepperdine in Madison Square Garden and matinee against IUPUI Tuesday in the Robins Center.
The question is can the Spiders get their offense rolling in those two contest before welcoming Wake Forest and Northeastern to town to close out non-conference play? The Spiders will then need to be firing on all cylinders for their A10 opener at new member Davidson and we all know the Wildcats are off to a hot 8-1 start.
So with all this being said, how can the Spiders get going on the offensive end. The easy answer is it starts with Kendall Anthony and ends with those stepping up around him. Anthony needs to be selfish to an extent as his scoring is down from a year ago but his efficiency is actually up shooting 47% this year up from 38% last year. While the efficiency is great he's taking about two shots less per game this year and not getting to the free throw line at the same rate. A more selfish Kendall Anthony will likely benefit Chris Mooney's squad.
In terms of the supporting cast the Spiders have a bevy of guys that can go for double-figures on any given night. A lot of fingers get pointed and ShawnDre Jones because he did such a commendable job filling in for Cedrick Lindsay a year ago; but it's important to remember that Jones is just a sophomore as well. Trey Davis is probably the one guy at this point that has gone completely M.I.A. for the Spiders. I think everyone was expecting more than 4.9 points per game from the local product.
Keep an eye on the Spiders as we turn the page to A10 play. We'll learn a lot over these next four games and their defense will certainly keep them in the hunt in the A10 all year long.