Nelson-Ododa leads Richmond past Bonnies 60-41
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) Alonzo Nelson-Ododa's primary role for Richmond is to play defense and rebound, and that anything beyond that is a bonus.
The 6-foot-9 redshirt junior gave the Spiders a huge bonus on Sunday, scoring 10 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking two shots as Richmond eventually pulled away in a defensive struggle and beat Saint Bonaventure 60-41.
Nelson-Ododa's scoring total was three points off his career high, and his rebounding total was just one off. On an afternoon when the Spiders and Bonnies both found points hard to produce, the offensive lift he provided was huge, not just to his team, but also to himself.
''It's just going out there and having an aggressive mindset, doing the things I can do, blocking shots, rebounding, making hustle plays,'' he said. ''Doing those types of things will give me the confidence to help offensively and score.''
Kendall Anthony led Richmond (9-7, 2-1 Atlantic 10) with 13 points while T.J. Cline and ShawnDre' Jones added 11 apiece.
The game changed quickly when Cline and the Bonnies' Youssou Ndoye both went to the bench with two fouls less than two minutes into the game. Cline is third on the Spiders with a 10.3 scoring average, but the 7-foot Ndoye is a key piece for the Bonnies, averaging 10.7 points and 11.3 rebounds.
With both sitting most of the half, Nelson-Ododa became more of a factor.
''Alonzo was the catalyst,'' Richmond coach Chris Mooney said. ''He came in the game very early, obviously, and he just led us. His energy, his effort, the plays that he makes, his blocks, his rebounding. I thought he was terrific.''
The Spiders used a 20-10 run in the second half to turn the defensive struggle in their direction, turning a 29-25 lead into a 49-35 edge. The Bonnies never made a real challenge after that, a reality that coach Mark Schmidt said has been all too common with his group this season.
''We missed some in the second half,'' he said of the Bonnies' 7 for 28 shooting (25 percent) after halftime. ''Once we got to the 10-minute mark and it was a 10-point lead, the offense wasn't smooth. I think that caught up with us from a defensive standpoint.''
Andell Cumberbatch scored 10 to lead the Bonnies (8-6, 1-2). Saint Bonaventure shot 33 percent (18 of 55) and missed all 10 of its shots from 3-point territory. The Spiders, by contrast, were 7 for 21 from long range and shot 48 percent overall (23 of 48).
Richmond led 29-25 early in the second half before a driving basket by Nelson-Ododa sparked the go-ahead burst. Cline added a 3-pointer and Jones added two from long-range. He finished 3 for 6 from behind the arc, all in the second half.
St. Bonaventure: Since winning six of its first seven games, St. Bonaventure is just 2-5. Ndoye finished with four points and six rebounds.
Richmond: The 41 points allowed was Richmond's best against an Atlantic 10 opponent since it held Saint Louis to 36 on Jan. 30, 2010.
When Richmond plays at George Washington on Wednesday night, it will be looking to snap an eight-game road losing streak dating to last season. The Spiders only victory away from the Robins Center this year came against Pepperdine at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 20.
St. Bonaventure hosts George Mason on Tuesday night.
Richmond plays at George Washington on Wednesday night.