PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Quick first-half impressions of Saint Mary’s-Richmond:
Saint Mary’s center Omar Samhan is a beast inside. His post moves have improved considerably. Samhan scored 17 of the Gaels’ 36 points. If he continues to get position on the low block, he should be able to score throughout the second half. The Gaels should ensure that he touches it every time down the court. The offense has to go through him. The problem for Samhan has been on the other end where he’s got three fouls. If the Gaels are going to win, then players like Mickey McConnell have to make 3s like he did to close out the half to tie the game.
Richmond is running its backdoor cuts quite well. If the Spiders are to win this game, that has to be a staple -- to find the openings in the Gaels’ defense. Kevin Anderson is proving to be one of the better guards in the country with 11 points, two steals and just one turnover in 20 minutes. The concern, of course, is that the Spiders don’t rebound or can’t board against Saint Mary’s. Richmond getting crushed on the boards, 16-6.
Neither team looks the part of being able to beat Villanova at this stage. But neither did Robert Morris before tip. This is all about aggression, attitude and execution. Both teams here are making minimal mistakes.
Lots of present and former coaches here like Saint Joseph’s Phil Martelli, whose son Jim is on Robert Morris’ staff, Brown coach Jesse Agel and former Providence coach and current ESPN analyst Tim Welsh, making his first appearance here at the Dunk since being forced out two years ago.