FAIRFAX, Va. (WWBT) - The Richmond Spiders were on target at George Mason on Saturday, shooting 67 percent from the field in a 97-87 win over the Patriots at EagleBank Arena. The Spiders made 33 of 49 field-goal attempts to register their highest field goal percentage in a game since 2008.
“I think it speaks to our ball movement,” said coach Chris Mooney of the Spiders shooting performance. “I think our guys were aggressive but had a good understanding of how to play and also made some tough finishes at the rim.”
At 14-4, Richmond has surpassed its 2018-19 win total (13-20) and has its best record through 18 games since 1987-88, when the Spiders opened up 15-3. It was the Patriots who started the game on fire from the floor, making their first six field goals and nine of their first 10 as they opened up a 21-11 lead at the 12-minute mark. But the Spiders responded with a 22-3 stretch to open up a nine-point lead at 35-26 at the 4-minute mark of the first half and held on for a 42-39 advantage at intermission.
Richmond went 18-27 from the field in the opening 20 minutes and outscored the Patriots by 10 in the paint (26-16) in the first half.
Patriots guard Javon Greene scored George Mason’s first six points in the second half and tied the game at 50 with a three-pointer with 16:55 to play. Freshman Tyler Burton answered for the Spiders, draining three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to put Richmond ahead by six. Greene, who scored 23 of his career-high 39 points in the second half, kept the Patriots close, but Richmond took control with a 14-4 run to go up by 10 points with three minutes to play.
George Mason sent the Spiders to the foul line in an attempt to extend the game, but the Spiders, who entered the game second in Division I in free-throw percentage, made their final 12 free throws, six each from Jake Wojcik and Jacob Gilyard. Richmond finished the game shooting 79 percent (26-33) from the foul line and 67 percent from the field (33-49), its best field-goal percentage in a game since shooting 69 percent on field goals in an 85-74 win over UMKC on November 25, 2008.
Golden led the Spiders with 25 points, his most in a game since scoring a career-high 33 against Wyoming on November 21, 2018. Gilyard scored 20 and added a game-high eight assists in addition to three steals. Nick Sherod finished with 19 points on 7-10 shooting from the field, his third straight game with more than 15 points.
Burton led Richmond’s bench with a career-high 12 points and added a team-high six rebounds, also a career best.
The Spiders are now 4-1 in the Atlantic 10, the fourth time they’ve won at least four of their first five conference games under Chris Mooney. Richmond is also 3-0 on the road in Atlantic 10 play, the third road start of 3-0 or better in conference play since the Spiders joined the A-10 in 2001.
The win was Richmond’s second in its last three games at EagleBank Arena following a seven-game losing streak therefrom 1999-2017.
The Spiders will open a two-game homestand Wednesday evening against La Salle. Tip-off is 7 PM and the game will be shown on MASN.
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