RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -Kevin Anderson and Richmond like this being ranked business.
Anderson scored 17 of his 19 points in a runaway first half and the No. 25 Spiders kept Fordham winless in the Atlantic 10 with a bench-emptying 84-56 victory on Wednesday night.
``We weren't worried at all. We were going to use our confidence that we got from finally getting some recognition and we used it as a positive tonight,' Anderson said.
The Spiders (21-6, 10-2) led 50-28 at halftime and ended any hopes the Rams had of making a game of it with a 15-2 run early in the second half. That gave them a 68-36 lead, their largest of the game, and coach Chris Mooney pulled his starters with nearly 15 minutes left.
``It felt really good for me,' Anderson, one of the nation's top guards, said of the extended rest. ``My knee's been bothering me a little bit - just wear and tear of the season.'
Fordham (2-22, 0-12) lost its 17th game in row. Chris Gaston led the Rams with 14 points and 14 rebounds and Brenton Butler scored 17, all but two in the meaningless second half.
Dan Geriot added 14 points, including the 1,000th of his career, David Gonzalvez had 13 and Justin Harper 11, but all of them called it a night long before the final buzzer as the Spiders used an early 18-2 run to open a 16-point lead and coasted the rest of the way.
``I thought we handled everything very well,' Mooney said after the Spiders' seventh straight win. ``We talked about the ranking and those kinds of things leading up to it. We've tried not to shy away from it, tried to embrace it and treat it as a responsibility.'
Jared Grasso, who took over the Rams when coach Dereck Whittenburg was fired on Dec. 3, fell to 1-18 interim head coach, operating with a depleted roster.
``When we struggled to make shots early, the floodgates kind of opened and Richmond showed why they are a Top-25 team,' Grasso said.
``Kevin Anderson is one of them. David Gonzalvez would be another. Justin Harper would be another. And Dan Geriot had 25 points against us when he was a freshman ... and he's coming off the bench now.'
The Rams, meantime, have just nine scholarship players, six of them freshmen.
Richmond finished shooting 53 percent from the field and forced 19 turnovers.
With Butler, the Rams' second-leading scorer, back on the floor after playing just nine minutes and committing three fouls in the first half, Fordham closed to within 53-34 on his 3-pointer and three free throws early in the second half. But Geriot scored Richmond's next nine points, all inside, and two Rams turnovers led to breakaway dunks.
In the first half, Anderson scored seven points and Gonzalvez six during the early 18-2 burst, which gave the Spiders a 22-6 lead. They extended the lead to as many as 27 before halftime, and had it to 82-45 after Geriot hit a 3-pointer for his 1,000th point.
The Associated Press News Service
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