NEW YORK (AP) – Kendall Anthony and Richmond have a chance to salvage a frustrating season filled with adversity against their archrivals from VCU.
Anthony scored 23 points, Terry Allen added a career-high 27 and Richmond ran away from Duquesne 76-64 Thursday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament.
The seventh-seeded Spiders (19-13) snapped a four-game losing streak and set up a third game this season with crosstown rival and 23rd-ranked VCU on Friday at Barclays Center, the home of the Brooklyn Nets.
“It’s a huge rivalry,” the 5-8 Anthony said. “But we’re here to win a championship.”
VCU, in its first season in the A-10, won both regular-season meetings with the Spiders, the last one 56-50 at Richmond last week. The Spiders led that game by 11 before the Rams’ pressure swung the game.
“We missed opportunities when we were up by 11 to pull away,” coach Chris Mooney said. “And we missed opportunities as they cut into the lead to steady the ship.”
Richmond looked as if it had a chance to contend for an NCAA tournament at-large bid before losing five of the last six to end the regular season. The stumble came after the Spiders lost the services of their only seniors in early February. Cedrick Lindsay, the team’s leading scorer, injured both knees and big man Derrick Williams left the squad for personal reasons. Now only an unexpected run to an A-10 championship will get the Spiders into the NCAAs.
“I think it was a rough end to the season,” Mooney said. “We didn’t have practices where the guys packed it in or there was no energy. We feel like we have basketball left in us. We have some good guys. When they accept that responsibility and are aggressive that puts us in good position.”
Ovie Soko led 10th-seeded Duquesne (13-17) with 23 points. The Dukes haven’t won an A-10 tournament game since 2009
The Dukes hung with the Spiders for a half, 32-26. Richmond separated with 16-8 run to start the second half.
“The system they run, the offense, the way they run through it, they’ll use all of the shot clock if they have to,” Soko said. “So when you get down to a team like that, it’s tough. We just weren’t able to really get back into it
Allen’s 3 from the corner put the Spiders up 16 with 12:23 left.
Anthony swished a straight-on 3 with 10:24 left to make it 55-34 and Richmond coasted into the next round from there.
“When you get down against a Richmond team like this, it’s so difficult to come back,” Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said.