Kneejerk Reactions: Wherein Darrius Garrett goes all Lasme on us

14 blocks.

That’s what Richmond’s Darrius Garrett recorded in Richmond’s 70-63 OT win tonight, a new Atlantic 10 record, a performance reminiscent of the good ol’ days when Stephane Lasme was swatting just about anything that came his way in the maroon-and-white.

But the defining play of this game was when Ricky Harris got the ball on the inbounds play, tie game, 13 seconds to go, chance to be the hero again. And he took the inbound with his back to midcourt. And he dribbled, slowly, across the timeline. And dribbled. And dribbled. Aaaaaaaaaand with about half a second left went up for a desperation shot and got the ball stripped by his defender. Horn. Overtime.

…uhh, what?

This even followed a timeout, where Derek Kellogg hopefully drew up something that didn’t remotely resemble what happened. Earlier in the game, DK felt the need to rip off his sportscoat and tie in a hissy fit at the officials, although I’m not going to start the whole “we would’ve won if he hadn’t cost us 2 points!!!!” thing, because that’s not how continuity works. But even if the atrocious play wasn’t Kellogg’s fault, you have to wonder how in the world Ricky could watch DK draw up a play for the last 13 seconds, even if that play basically amounts to “get Ricky the ball and let him try to win this himself” a la Fordham, and have Ricky bring the ball up as casually as he did. He obviously had zero idea how much time was left, as if there were 30 seconds left, but it simply makes no sense to me how they screwed it up that badly. DK looked pissed after the horn sounded, and hopefully this never ever happens again, but it was pretty embarassing nonetheless.

Otherwise, it was an admirable performance by UMass on the road in a hostile venue; Riley’s shot is looking really good lately and he’s an explosive scorer, and the overall defensive effort is much-improved (although Richmond helped out by shooting way too many wild 3′s). Gurley’s recent vanishing act sure is troublesome, though, and Vinson has been okay, but hardly the future superstar he showed flashes of in the Memphis game (which now seems like forever ago).

Overall, the team competed, and in a rebuilding year, that’s all you can ask for on a nightly basis. Let’s just hope that these struggles are just growing pains for an extremely-young team, rather than lasting issues that will plague the team even as it develops.

-Max

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