ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond-Purnell Swett clash Wednesday night was like a first round NCAA tournament matchup.
The lower seed gets hot from outside the 3-point line, begins to get some confidence and keeps the game close at halftime. Then after the break, the higher seed’s length and athleticism takes over en route to a big victory.
And that is how it played out between the two Southeastern Conference teams as the Raiders led by as much as 21 points late in the fourth quarter before settling for a 79-66 victory over the Rams.
“I thought we ran the numbered break tonight as well as we have all year,” Richmond coach David Laton said. “I thought we did a good job rebounding and getting out on the fast break. We really wanted to push the ball.”
Purnell Swett coach Jeremy Sampson thought his team fell into a trap of taking too many 3-point shots against Richmond’s zone defense. Even though the underdog Rams hit five 3-pointers in the first half, they only connected on two in the second.
“We settled for 3s against them,” Sampson said. “Their size and athleticism gave us trouble tonight. Our two tallest guys are 6-foot 3 and they have all that length. We couldn’t stop No. 3, he killed us. Plus, we made some ill-advised turnovers.”
The No. 3 Sampson was talking about was Greg Patterson. He scorched the Rams for a game-high 30 points, 22 of those coming on layups. Patterson scored 10 in second quarter and 12 in the third.
“What a big night for Greg,” Laton said. “He played really well for us.”
Laton added Patterson wasn’t the only player to have a solid game for the Raiders.
“I thought Raheem Bowden played well up the bench for us,” Laton said. “T.J. Watkins played well in the fourth quarter. Tre (Pettigrew) is really becoming very good in the open court. He can pass or finish. And Xavier had a couple of what I call real point guard assists tonight.”
Purnell Swett was led by Kendrick Purdie’s 21 points. Tyler Maynor and Anthony Williamson both scored 12 for the Rams in the loss.
Richmond improves to 11-4 overall on the season and 3-0 in the SEC. It will travel to Southern Pines Friday to play Pinecrest. Purnell Swett drops to 3-9 overall and 1-2 in the conference and will battle Hoke Friday in Pembroke.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.