ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Some final thoughts as No. 3 Richmond beat No. 11 UMass, 77-72, in quarterfinal play in the A-10 tourney here at Boardwalk Hall. Up next for the Spiders is a semifinal matchup on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET against No. 2 Xavier.
Despite the closer-than-it-really-was final score this game was never truly in doubt for Richmond so it’s hard to say what it gained from the experience. UMass made a couple of runs in the second half and put up 51 points after halftime, which forced the Spiders to do more than simply go through the motions. So that may have been enough of a tuneup for what should be a great matchup on Saturday against Xavier.
Suffice it to say that it’s very unlikely Xavier will let Richmond sit outside the three-point line and take uncontested shots in Saturday’s semifinal. But that’s pretty much was UMass did on Friday night and the Minutemen paid for it. Dearly. Richmond was a lights out 9 of 13 in the first half from beyond the arc before it cooled down to just 2 of 7 in the final 20 minutes. For the game Richmond shot 55 percent outside of 3-point line.
The Spiders finished with five players in double figures, led by David Gonzalvez’s 15 points. UMass’ Anthony Gurley led all scorers with 24 points -- including 4 of 5 from 3-point range.
UMass finished the season 12-20, which can’t be what coach Derek Kellogg or athletic director John McCutcheon had in mind after last season’s 12-18 campaign. The Minutemen do lose their best player in senior Ricky Harris, but the rest of the young lineup got some valuable experience in beating Rhode Island in the regular-season finale just to qualify for the A-10 tournament. And then UMass went on the road and beat Charlotte to advance to Atlantic City.