Richmond left nothing to chance in its Atlantic 10 tournament opener, scoring the first nine points of the second half to break open a close game and advance past Duquesne 76-64 Thursday at the Barclays Center in New York.
The seventh-seeded Spiders (19-13) snapped a four-game losing streak and won for the 17th in the past 18 meetings with the 10th-seeded Dukes (13-17). Richmond faces second-seeded Virginia Commonwealth in Friday’s quarterfinals. The Rams received a bye into the quarters.
Richmond’s 2013 Atlantic 10 tournament ended in inglorious fashion, as the Spiders were called for three technical fouls in the final 4.7 seconds of an opening-round, 68-63 loss to Charlotte. There was no danger of a second collapse this time, thanks to the Spiders’ performance after intermission.
After taking a 32-26 lead into halftime, the Spiders pushed the lead to 15 before the Dukes next found the basket. Duquesne wouldn’t get the margin back to single digits until forward Ovie Soko hit a 3-pointer with 1:28, capping a 12-2 run that made it 68-59.
Six consecutive made free throws helped Richmond hold off Duquesne’s late charge.
Forward Terry Allen scored 27 points to lead the Spiders. Richmond guard Kendall Anthony’s 23 points included an 11-for-11 performance at the foul line. Spiders forward Alonzo Nelson-Ododa added 13 points and seven rebounds.
Soko’s 23 points and 13 rebounds led Duquesne. Forwards Dominique McKoy and L.G. Gill each added 10 points for the Dukes.
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