Six things to know about Spiders Hoops in six games

There’s nothing flashy about .500, and that’s the current University of Richmond basketball station. But there was a lot to learn from the reconfigured Spiders from their 3-3 start, some good, some bad.

Here are six notable points from six games:

1. UR has no November cupcakes loaded. The Spiders defeated VMI, Northern Iowa and Temple and lost to Charleston, Wichita State and Syracuse. VMI generally struggles to compete successfully at a lower level than Richmond, but otherwise it’s been a demanding schedule.

“This is Richmond, a program where we go up against great teams and challenge and test ourselves,” said coach Chris Mooney, whose side play Toledo (4-2) on November 30. “The names of the teams we’ve played against so far are teams that are nationally recognized at the high-major level or the high-mid-major level.

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“That’s what we need to do in Richmond and we welcome that, but that’s going to really challenge you and you need to be at your best sooner than you might be able to start getting into.”

2. Marcus Randolph found a role. The 6-foot-5 sophomore played 29 minutes all of last season. Randolph was in UR’s last game for 21 minutes, a 61-49 win over Temple in Tuesday night’s Empire Classic consolation game in Brooklyn.

“His best game as Spider. He was great,” Mooney said. “He allowed us to play a little bit smaller because he’s tough and physical enough to hit with big boys and fast enough to guard the periphery.”

Randolph made only one shot (a made 3). He had three assists and three rebounds, helped bring offensive flow, and defended well.

3. Looks like three hits with three transfers. It hasn’t been consistent in six games, but 6-7 Isaiah Bigelow (10.3ppg, 5.7 rps), a Wofford graduate, has been fairly consistent, 7-0 Neal Quinn (6.5hp, 5.5 rps ) came out recently, and 6-5 Jason Roche (7.8 ppg) has made 44% from 3-point distance.

“It’s going in a really positive direction,” Mooney said of the Spiders’ unity.

4. Matt Grace went missing. Richmond has played its last three games without the 6-9 Grace, a fifth-year player starting forward (torn knee ligament) who averages 7.7 points and 4 rebounds.

“He really allows us to be so versatile,” Mooney said. “What we’re struggling with now is if Neal is out… for us that (position) is kind of a key that we all revolve around. We’re just not quite as smooth or crisp. But when Matt’s in there, we’re even smoother and crispier.”

5. Jason Nelson had more ups than downs. The Spiders averaged 9.8 turnovers and had a plus 3.1 grossing margin last season with Jacob Gilyard in his fifth year as a starter. With redshirt newcomer Nelson (13 ppg, 24 assists, 13 TOs) as point guard, UR averages 12.8 turnovers and has a turnover margin of minus 1.5.

But Nelson’s talent and sense of the court are impressive, and experience will most likely only make that clearer.

6. This is not a misprint. In Monday’s 74-71 overtime loss to Syracuse in Brooklyn, the Spiders overtook the Orange 44-27 and had 20 offensive boards. Mooney’s teams have by no means been known for rebounding skills over the years.

Tyler Burton, a 6-7 senior, had 15 rebounds against Syracuse.

“This might be the best rebounding game I’ve seen from him,” Mooney said.

UR is plus-2 on the glass through six games.

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