PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Quick thoughts on Saint Mary’s convincing 80-71 victory over Richmond in a 10-7 matchup:
Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett told me he didn’t like the matchup with Richmond when he saw it pop up on Selection Sunday. Why not? The Spiders couldn’t do anything with Omar Samhan except hope that he got into foul trouble. He did with four and it still didn’t matter.
The Gaels proved the theory wrong that traveling West to East and handling the early game is an issue. Saint Mary’s seemed more in rhythm from the outset. The Gaels had the fresh legs, which could be because Saint Mary’s hasn’t played since a week ago Monday, while Richmond played last Sunday in a competitive A-10 final against Temple.
Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett has to feel vindicated in many ways. The Gaels were somewhat politicking to get an at-large bid, but then earned it by beating Gonzaga for the WCC automatic bid, and then came out and convincingly won this game.
Richmond seemed off, couldn’t offensively rebound and the offense was never in sync.
Richmond coach Chris Mooney has had a great run this season, and, with the core of this team returning, he should stay put instead of looking elsewhere.