Richmond, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - The 13th-ranked Massachusetts Minutemen face a tough test on Wednesday night, as they visit the Richmond Spiders in Atlantic 10 Conference action at the Robins Center.
The Minutemen have not been challenged much this season, entering this clash with wins in six straight games and 17 of 18 overall. They most recently defeated Elon (84-74) in a non-conference bout, but they have done well against the A-10 as well (3-0). Up next is a return home to face Fordham.
As for Richmond, it just got done knocking off Dayton at home, 73-64. The Spiders, who are 8-2 at the Robins Center, have been tough to beat as the hosts, while posting an overall mark of 12-6. This is the second leg of a three-game homestand for the team, which entertains Saint Joseph's next.
UMass earned a 70-65 win over Richmond in last year's lone meeting. The victory was the second straight for the Minutemen, although the Spiders lead the all-time series, 8-6.
Cady Lalanne scored 23 points and collected 10 rebounds, while Chaz Williams tallied 20 points in UMass' recent win over Elon. Led by Lalanne, the Minutemen outscored the Phoenix in the paint, 38-18, while shooting 46.6 percent from the floor and holding the opposition to just 34.4 percent.
UMass is the best scoring team in the A-10, netting 79.2 ppg. The Minutemen also rank at the top of the league in assists (15.9 apg) and rebounds (39.2 rpg). Williams (16.3 ppg, 7.4 apg) is one of the best backcourt performers in the conference with his ability to score and distribute. Williams leads the league in assists and is among the top-10 in scoring. Lalanne (14.2 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 2.5 bpg) is a sturdy force in the paint, ranking second in the A-10 in rebounds and tying for the top spot in blocks. Sampson Carter (10.9 ppg 5 rpg) and Raphiael Putney (10.8 ppg) are also reliable contributors.
Richmond had a 19-4 scoring advantage off turnovers against Dayton in its come-from-behind win. The Spiders trailed at halftime, 36-32, but held the Flyers to only nine field goals over the final 20 minutes, while netting 19- of-21 shots from the free-throw line.
The Spiders are not a particularly impressive offensive team, averaging just 69.8 ppg and shooting 44.2 percent from the floor. Each of those marks is among the bottom three in the conference. However, they are solid defensively, surrendering only 65.4 ppg on 40.5 percent shooting. Cedrick Lindsay (19.1 ppg, 4.2 apg) and Kendall Anthony (13.3 ppg) team up to form a potent backcourt tandem. Anthony had 18 points against Dayton and Lindsay chipped in 17, although they each tallied 11 points at the free-throw line. Terry Allen (9.2 ppg) is the next best scoring option, while Alonzo Nelson-Ododa (7.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.5 bpg) is tied with Lalanne for the most blocks in the league.