The Stetson men's basketball team (2-6) begins a five-game road trip with a return to Richmond on Saturday. The Hatters and the Richmond Spiders (8-2) are scheduled to tip off at 6:00 p.m. at the Robins Center (note: originally on the schedule as 7:00 p.m.).
"They're a really unconventional team to prepare for on both ends of the floor," Stetson head coach Casey Alexander said of Richmond. "They're a Princeton derivative, that's [Coach] Mooney's background. That's the style he had so much success with at Air Force, and it's difficult to prepare for."
It's been working for the Spiders so far this season, as the Sweet 16 team from just two seasons ago is out to a hot 8-2 start, winning its last four contests. Richmond is averaging 73.3 points per game with shooting percentages of 46.2 from the floor, 38.4 from beyond the arc, and 76.1 from the free throw line. Alexander remarked that many overlook how difficult it is to prepare for the team's offense because Richmond's defense is quite different as well.
"It's a matchup zone, or a switching man," Alexander said. "They're going to play it every possession of every game, and they're really good at what they do, so it's a tough assignment. It creates a lot of uncertainty for us offensively, because you don't know where your baskets are going to come from. You're not going to get any practice scores, any set play scores. You're literally going to have to have concepts about how to attack it, but your scores are going to come at random. We could execute our plan, but there's no guarantee that we'll get the result we want, because it's such a difficult defense to play against."
The Spiders are holding their opponents to just 63.4 points per game, but fortunately for the Hatters, Stetson is currently leading the Atlantic Sun Conference with 72.2 points and 17.3 assists per game. SU is also the only squad in the conference with four players scoring in double figures. Senior Adam Pegg (15.9), junior Aaron Graham (12.6), junior Chris Perez (12.1), and senior Joel Naburgs (11.9) give the Hatters a number of offensive threats in each and every game.
"It's nice to have multiple scorers," Alexander said. "They're scoring in different ways. They're all scoring within the framework of the offense, and that what it's designed to do. There's no secret that offense is not our problem."
Stetson and Richmond will be hitting the hardcourt against each other for the first time since 1983, when the Spiders came out on top 53-52 in DeLand. Richmond holds a 3-1 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to 1977 when Stetson fell on the road by a score of 69-60. The Hatters' lone win in the series was a 73-56 home victory in 1978.
Saturday's contest can be listened to live on WSBB 1230 AM in New Smyrna, 1490 AM in DeLand, and online at www.MyAM1230.com with play-by-play from Robbie Aaron. Live Stats, the @StetsonMBB Twitter feed, and Hat-Alerts will be available for in-game updates. Also, Richmond will provide a video broadcast on a premium pay-per-view basis.