First-year Brother Rice coach Rick Harrigan was pretty mad after getting blown out at Fenwick last Friday.
“The last two days I wasn’t in a very good mood around here,” the coach said. “The players took heed of that.”
The Crusaders fed off their coach’s anger and knocked off previously unbeaten Richards, 78-67, Tuesday night in a nonconference tilt in Chicago.
Richards came into the game 7-0 and snuck into the Sun-Times rankings at No. 24 this week.
Brother Rice (4-4) led by as much as 23 points (49-26 with four minutes and 15 seconds left in the third). Richards roared back and cut the gap to single digits with 4:01 left in the game but could get no closer than eight.
With St. Joseph coming to town Friday, Harrigan might be a little happier the next couple of days.
“Maybe I should stay in a bad mood,” he said. “But it’s hard after you win.”
Senior Ray Rubio led the Crusaders with 25 points and Quinn Niego added 19. Dan Scanlan had just eight points but six came in the final 3:05.
The Bulldogs trailed 18-14 after the first quarter and 34-22 at the break.
Rubio, who average 18.4 points per game in his first seven games, had 16 in the first half.
The Crusaders used a 12-0 run in a four-and-a-half-minute stretch to put some distance between them and the Bulldogs with a 32-18 lead.
“We just came out and played as a team,” Rubio said. “We were blown out last Friday (a 67-39 loss to the Friars) and we stuck together. Our coach gave us some good practices this week and a good game plan and we trusted ourselves and our coach.”
Richards was led by Chicago State-bound Josh Meier’s 23 points while Spencer Tears racked up 17 points and Dedrick Shannon Jr. nailed nine points in the final 2:16.
“I don’t want to overvalue this but they are a good team and it’s a cross-town rivalry,” Harrigan said. “I told the kids we want to fight every night. We let things get away from us on Friday and didn’t compete to the end. Today we need and they gave a good effort.’’
This was the seventh time the two teams have gone to war and Brother Rice has a 4-3 edge. The last time they hooked up was Jan. 13, 2009.