Pest control, Spiders get exterminated: VCU defeats Richmond in Capital City Classic 77-57

Head coach Mike Rhoades points to the crowd after the VCU victory against Richmond on Feb. 18. Photo by Alessandro Latour

Arrick Wilson, Sports Editor

The rowdy sold-out crowd chanted “we own Richmond,” as the VCU men’s basketball program defeated the Richmond Spiders 77-57 on the Friday afternoon game at the Stuart C. Siegel Center. 

Sophomore guard Adrian “Ace” Baldwin Jr. said in the post-game press conference that the continued rivalry raises the best out of the Rams. 

“One, it’s our rivalry, and two, is all about, like, it’s respect about us,” Baldwin said. “We run Richmond, and we want to make that known.”

The Richmond Area Honda Dealers Capital City Classic has been a close-knit rivalry game occurring multiple times a year, according to VCU Athletics. With this win, the Rams are currently on a three-game winning streak against the Spiders. Head coach Mike Rhoades said that fans played a huge role in the rivalry win in the post-game press conference

“What a great environment, what a great college basketball environment. You know, our fans showed up today — I think that really got our guys jacked,” Rhoades said. “I thought Ram Nation showed up and showed out today and everybody was a big part of that win.”

The Rams and the Spiders both ended halftime with a tied score of 28-28. With two minutes left in the first half, the Spiders led the Rams, 28-20. For the remaining minutes of the first half, the Rams ended the quarter on an 8-0 run. This momentum shifted in the second half, as the Rams went on a 16-1 run at the start. Rhoades said that staying calm led the Rams to the late half run.

“We weren’t in panic mode, but because we’ve been through this rivalry where a team gets up 10 and comes right back. It’s just, ‘guys take a deep breath,’” Rhoades said. “I think we regrouped on defense and then offense we got the ball moving a little bit … one thing we did today was we got some clean rebounds that led to transition, so that got us going offensively.”

Senior forward Vince Williams and Baldwin led the Rams with 15 points. Sophomore forward Mikeal Brown-Jones had 11 points and seven rebounds in only 11 minutes of play, stepping up when the Rams were in foul trouble.  

Junior forward Tyler Burton led the Spiders with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Graduate student Grant Golden also had 11 points, while senior forward Andre Gustavson had 10 points.

The Rams were without starting junior forward Hason Ward who is currently day-to-day, recovering from a left ankle sprain, according to Rhoades. Freshman forward Jalen DeLoach started in the first game of his collegiate career. DeLoach said that the team stayed together to win the game in “Stu.”

“Just staying connected. Coach [Rhoades] always says ‘ACL: Aggressive, confident and loose,’ and that’s what we were,” DeLoach said. 

The Rams outscored the Spiders 49-29 in the second half, breezing through the game with chants from many Ram fans. Williams said the team did well maintaining the lead after gaining it in the second half.

“Defensive rebounds got out in transition, made easier shots — and got back on top. We kept the lead the whole time, we didn’t let up and let them come back in the game,” Willaims said. “So I feel like we’re still maturing on that part, but we did a good job just holding on the lead.”

Senior guard KeShawn Curry went down in the first half holding his knee. Curry is currently averaging 10.2 points, according to VCU Athletics. According to Rhoades, the guard twisted his knee and suffered a bone bruise, but the guard should be back to play for the Rams.

The NCAA Tournament is on the horizon for the Rams. Rhoades said that he doesn’t want to look forward to the March Madness that is ahead for the Rams, and instead wants to take it one game at a time.

“It’s about winning the next game. If you win the next game, the next game becomes more important,” Rhoades said. “And you give your chance to get the NCAA tournament and you give yourself a chance to win a championship.”

The Rams will play a senior night home game against the George Mason Patriots on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m., at the Stuart C. Siegel Center. The game will be televised on the MASN2 Network.

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