NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A rough first half shooting the ball left Vanderbilt with too big a hole to dig out of Wednesday in a 78-67 loss to visiting Richmond at Memorial Gymnasium.
The Spiders (5-1) led by 24 at halftime. Vandy was able to claw back to within nine late thanks to a valiant effort in the second half, but Richmond – ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 last week – and its veteran bunch held firm to escape with the victory.
Dylan Disu also finished in double figures with 10 points and he collected six boards.
Vanderbilt is scheduled to return to Memorial Gymnasium at 7 p.m. Saturday when it welcomes in Radford (3-4).
Richmond took control from the outset with an 11-4 start. Vanderbilt missed three of its first five shots and committed an offensive foul in the first 4+ minutes.
A breakout layup by Nathan Cayo put the Spiders ahead 15-5, a Jacob Gilyard 3 on the right wing upped the score to 18-5 and an Andre Gustavson layup made it 20-5.
Vanderbilt went more than nine minutes without a made field goal – Thomas busted that drought with a left-corner 3, but it was still 25-10 Spiders at that point.
Wright tried to give Vandy a spark. His 3 with 5:19 to go until halftime made it 29-17, but Richmond responded with back-to-back triples by Blake Francis to go up 35-19.
Richmond took a commanding 45-21 lead into the break after holding for the final possession, scoring, then stealing the ball and hitting a layup at the buzzer.
Vanderbilt shot 6-for-23 from the floor, missed 8 of 10 shots from distance, turned the ball over eight times and was outscored 20-6 in the paint. The Spiders, meanwhile, shot 72 percent from the floor.
The Commodores had some renewed energy to start the second half and outscored the Spiders 21-12 in the first 5 1/2 minutes. Dunks from Disu, Pippen and Wright gave Vandy momentum.
Another Wright layup with 12:13 to play shrunk the margin to 59-48 and forced a Richmond timeout. Thomas’ third 3 of the game finally got Vandy within 10 at 63-54.
The Commodores couldn’t get any closer.
Francis had 21 for Richmond.