- Associated Press - Friday, March 14, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - Everywhere Kendall Anthony turned, another VCU defender appeared.

Richmond was routed 71-53 by its crosstown rival Friday in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament. The Rams focused their defense on Anthony, who came in averaging 16.2 points but was held to seven on 2-of-15 shooting.

“For us, if Kendall shoots 2 of 15, obviously it’s going to be hard for us to win any games at this point,” coach Chris Mooney said.

At this point, the Spiders are young and short-handed. Now they’re hoping for an NIT bid to build experience for players such as freshman ShawnDre Jones, who scored 18 points, and sophomore Alonzo Nelson-Ododa, who had 12 rebounds.

No. 23 VCU swept all three meetings this season between the two schools located about six miles apart.

“Anytime you can beat a team three times, no matter who it is, is big,” said Briante Weber, who led the Rams with 18 points in 18 minutes. “To beat your rival three times gives you more bragging rights.”

Last Thursday, the Spiders (16-16) led VCU at halftime at home before the Rams pulled out a 56-50 win. But this one got away early.

Seventh-seeded Richmond missed 8 of its first 9 shots and turned the ball over 10 times in the opening half against VCU’s pressing “Havoc” defense.

“The defense was pretty overwhelming tonight,” Nelson-Ododa said.

A two-time conference defensive player of the year, Weber came in averaging 9.1 points. He repeatedly drove into the paint and finished in the first half, shooting 8 for 10 overall and pulling down five rebounds. On defense, he led the way in hounding Anthony.

“We were really familiar with their offense,” VCU guard Melvin Johnson said. “This was just a players’ game. Briante sparked us with great defense on Kendall Anthony.”

Aside from Weber, VCU’s best offense was its rebounding. The second-seeded Rams (25-7) had 20 offensive boards that turned into 22 second-chance points.

Just like last year, VCU fans came out in force at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, and just like last year, their ranks included Spike Lee.

“That’s demoralizing for the other team knowing it feels like a home game for us,” Johnson said.

The Spiders are down to a seven-man rotation after losing both of their seniors, including leading scorer Cedrick Lindsay, in early February. Richmond also played Thursday, beating Duquesne to snap a four-game losing streak, while the Rams had a bye.

“We made them work,” VCU coach Shaka Smart said. “We knew we had an advantage in terms of fatigue.”

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