RICHMOND, Va. – Kevin Anderson hardly cared that the Wake Forest team arriving at the Robins Center wasn't as mighty as the one that had beaten Richmond 17 straight times.
"They won 17 times," Richmond's senior point guard said. "You feel that."
Anderson scored 23 points — 16 after halftime — and Justin Harper had 14 of his 20 in the second half as Richmond (11-3) beat the Demon Deacons 90-74 on Wednesday night.
Anderson scored eight points and assisted on the other three during an 11-0 second-half run that allowed the Spiders, of the Atlantic 10 Conference, to break a 54-54 tie.
"I was kind of tired of us getting a lead, up eight, up six, and them bringing it back, so I felt we just needed a little more, something to get us over the hump," Anderson said of the flurry that lifted the Spiders to their 23rd victory in their last 24 home games.
Justin Harper added 13 rebounds and Dan Geriot scored 17 for Richmond.
With the Spiders leading by just three at halftime, Harper felt like the offense would start clicking, and that the Spiders knew exactly how to make it happen — with defense.
"We knew we were going to start getting into a rhythm and what helps with that is getting stops," he said.
Richmond native Travis McKie scored 19 points to lead Wake Forest (6-7), which displayed the inconsistent play that has marked Jeff Bzdelik's first year as coach. The Demon Deacons had 16 turnovers, while the Spiders had just nine, and only three in the final 24 minutes.
The difference, though, was Anderson, Bzdelik said.
"He's a tremendous player. He's all that is written about," he said. "He's a handful and we've had trouble keeping people in front of us (on defense) all year."
Anderson hadn't had much of an impact until Wake Forest used a 12-3 run to pull even at 54 with 12:35 to play. The senior point guard then took over, hitting a 3-pointer, feeding Darien Brothers for another, making a steal and layup and hitting another 3-pointer.
In just over two minutes, he'd turned a tie game into a 65-54 Spiders' advantage.
He said the Spiders' inability to put the game away helped inspire the run.
"It makes it harder that you're up 10, you really can't relax, up 10 or up 12, because they can bring it back so fast," he said. "They have shooters, they have drivers, they're athletic. You really have to stay focused."
Gary Clark and C.J. Harris had 14 each for the Demon Deacons, and Ari Stewart 12.
Wake Forest, which had beaten Iowa in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge but has lost to Stetson, Winthrop and Presbyterian, got as close as six with under 6 minutes left, but no closer.
"We're a work in progress," Bzdelik said.
The Demon Deacons fought their way back several times after looking on the brink of getting blown out before a Spiders' crowd seeing only its second game in five weeks.
Richmond used a 16-8 burst to go up 28-17 with just over 6 minutes left in the first half, but instead of pulling away, the Spiders got sloppy and the Demon Deacons rallied.
Two 3-pointers by Clark sparked a 16-6 run to get Wake Forest within one, 34-33, in the final minute, and Darrius Garrett's two free throws gave Richmond a 36-33 lead at the half.