The Richmond Spiders already had beaten three teams in the last week that they had lost to this season. Yesterday, they made it four straight paybacks by blowing out American, 79-59, before 2,091 at Bender Arena.

The Spiders (15-8 overall, 7-3 Colonial Athletic Association) have won nine of 10 outings after a slow start. The Eagles (9-12, 4-6) have lost seven of eight, including three straight at home, where they used to be unbeatable.

They stayed close into the second half, then suddenly couldn't hit any shots and the Spiders couldn't miss. Up by 48-42 with 12:27 left, the Spiders hit 12 of their next 15 shots, including three three-pointers, to open a 75-54 lead. Meantime, the Eagles shot six for 18.

Tim Weathers started Richmond's run with a three-pointer and a short jumper, then Kenny Wood's breakaway off a turnover made it 57-46. After the Eagles took a timeout, Curtis Blair and Terry Connolly made three-pointers to put the game out of reach.

Wood, Blair and Weathers -- he'd been averaging fewer than six points a game -- scored the Spiders' first 26 points of the second half. Overall, the Eagles were outscored by 45-29 in the half, and had five points in the last 6:05.

"Our defensive intensity really picked up our offense," said Blair, the Spiders' leading scorer at 15 points a game. "We made them take quick shots, and we can generate more offense."

Although the game was decided, the last minute for the Eagles told the story of the second half. They missed seven shots in two possessions, despite getting five offensive rebounds. The Eagles shot 39 percent for the game, while the Spiders hit 53 percent and outrebounded the Eagles, 38-30.

Brian Gilgeous led the Eagles with 16 points, while catalyst Brock Wortman was the only threat from outside, making four three-pointers.

"For a team to be aggressive, they must have confidence," Spiders Coach Dick Tarrant said.

"We lacked assertiveness and confidence {earlier this year}. How do you gain confidence? Only through success."

The Spiders, who paid back Virginia Tech, James Madison and George Mason this week, are second in the conference after their seventh straight CAA victory.

"I don't feel like I just got beat by 20 points," Eagles Coach Chris Knoche said.

"I told the team before the game rebounding would dictate who won this game. Unfortunately, I was right."

The Eagles were 30-3 in Bender Arena until this season. After yesterday -- their worst home conference loss in Bender -- they're 5-6 there.