Missed Shots Add Up, UNI Falls in First Division I Game of 2022
Drastically out-matched in size and unable to get shots to fall on Friday night, UNI fell in their first matchup with Division I competition this season, 68-55 on the road at Richmond.
Really, neither team shot well to start the night.
Despite the drastic difference in height between the two starting centers as UNI's 6'6 James Betz looked up at the 7'0 Neal Quinn from Richmond, the Spiders were unable to take advantage -- even in the post.
"We talked a lot about what we were going to do down there," Head Coach Ben Jacobson said after the game. "(Their bigs) made five baskets in forty minutes. I didn't love it, but that didn't beat us."
"The game plan was to just hold your own," forward Tytan Anderson added. "We were going to gap off and have a little support from time to time, but it was really just 'be a man and hold your own.'"
Quinn was 2-3 and 6'9 Matt Grace was 3-5 in the post.
The Spider bigs didn't get going early, and neither did anyone else. Overall, Richmond shot 11-30 from the field over the first 20 minutes, and UNI was just 11-26.
The lone players to reach double figures in the first half were UNI's Bowen Born who put up 12 on 5-10 shooting and Richmond true freshman Jordan Nelson who scored ten.
The Panthers trailed 32-29 going into the half against the reigning Atlantic-10 Tournament Champions, and boy was it a tail of two halves. Especially for the home team.
Whatever message Richmond Coach Chris Mooney shared with his team at halftime must have struck a chord. The Spiders found their stroke in the second half, and they found it quickly.
Richmond came out of the gates firing, scoring ten points over the first 2:45, and extended their lead to 42-33 on a three-pointer from guard Andre Gustavson.
Following a made jumper by Nate Heise with 16:21 remaining, the basketball gods must have put a lid on UNI's basket.
The Panthers missed their following nine shots, only scoring two points on made free throws by Heise and redshirt freshman Michael Duax.
"We generated, it felt like, enough good opportunities," Jacobson said. "We're going to have to play some games so (we can) get a little more in-sync or a little more comfortable. ... There were some times we probably needed to get more organized, but that will come with more games."
That nine-point lead quickly jumped to 16 with 10:05 to go. The Spiders stayed hot and flipped the script in the second half, shooting 13-23 from the field and 6-13 from three.
UNI wouldn't go away trimming the Spider lead down to 11 at several points under ten minutes, but Richmond took the win, 68-55.
"We can all feel good about how hard we're going to compete, regardless of who we're playing, where we're playing, or what the score is," Jacobson said. "Those are things we can count on and feel good about going into (the rest of the season)."
Born finished the night leading UNI in scoring with 17 and Anderson added 13 points and ten rebounds, his first double-double as a Panther. Nelson led all scorers with 21 points and Jason Roche put up 14 for the Spiders, shooting 4-6 from three.
UNI will stay on the road for their next contest, as they're set to take on No. 18 Virginia on Monday, November 14 at 7 pm.