NEW YORK (AP) — The theme espoused by Richmond coach Chris Mooney and his counterpart, Pepperdine's Marty Wilson, was experience.
Mooney believes his team gained from playing on the Madison Square Garden stage, while Wilson hopes his squad learned from what transpired on the fabled court.
Opposite sides of the same coin.
TJ Cline scored 13 points to lead Richmond over Pepperdine 65-63 in the first game of the Gotham Classic Saturday.
Trey Davis and Terry Allen added 11 apiece for Richmond (6-4), which has won three in a row.
"(It) was a group effort to be more aggressive," Davis said of the collective mindset of Richmond's forwards. The Spiders started a four-forward, one-guard alignment. The forwards accounted for 44 of Richmond's 65 points.
Shawn Olden had 13 points for Pepperdine (7-3), which had a two-game winning streak end. Jeremy Major finished with 12 and Stacy Davis added 11 points.
"It's a tough way to lose a game," Wilson said.
A back-and-forth contest throughout, Richmond took control when Kendell Anthony's left corner 3-pointer with 2:50 remaining extended the lead to 60-54.
"He took the right shots and made the biggest one," Mooney said of Anthony, who finished 2 of 9 from the field.
Despite Anthony's 3, Richmond struggled from long range for much of the game, making just 5 of 16 from beyond the arc. The Spiders finished the game 23 of 42 (55 percent) from the floor.
"We made just enough shots," Mooney said.
Conversely, Pepperdine's hot shooting kept them close. The Waves made 21 of 42 shots from the field and hit 17 of 20 from the line.
But Pepperdine's ball management left something to be desired. The Waves committed 13 turnovers, six in the second half alone.
"(Our) downfall was turnovers," Wilson said. "We shot the ball well (but) there were certain shots we wish we had back."
ShawnDre' Jones' floater with 1:06 left increased Richmond's lead to 64-58.
Pepperdine shaved the deficit to one, 64-63 with 12 seconds left but couldn't get over the top as Olden's buzzer beater fell short.
"(We) wanted to extend the game," Wilson said.
The tone for the game was set midway through the first half as Richmond and Pepperdine began trading baskets. At halftime, Richmond held a 33-32 lead primarily built on 57.1 percent shooting from the field. The Waves nearly matched the Spiders shot-for-shot as Pepperdine made 52.6 percent of their shots in the opening 20 minutes.
Richmond evened the all-time series between the programs at 1-1.
RICHMOND: The game was Richmond's first at Madison Square Garden since 2002.
PEPPERDINE: The Waves entered the game leading the nation in 3-point field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents just 20.5 percent from behind the arc.
QUOTABLE: "(It was a) once in a lifetime opportunity. You don't get too many chances to play in The Garden." — Richmond's Trey Davis on playing inside Madison Square Garden.
RICHMOND: Hosts IUPUI on Dec. 23.
PEPPERDINE: Hosts IUPUI on Dec. 27.
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