The University of Richmond Men’s Basketball team defeated VCU 77-76 in the Lumber Liquidators Capital City Classic Wednesday night at the Robins Center.
The Spiders swept the season series with VCU for the first time since the 2014-2015 season.
“This is what makes the rivalry so special,” Richmond head coach Chris Mooney said. “We were fortunate to win this one and really just proud to be part of it. Our team showed a great deal of heart, toughness and energy.”
The Spiders started with strong momentum, going on an 8-0 run with junior Khwan Fore scoring four points in that span.
VCU came back quickly and took its first lead of the game when redshirt sophomore Kris Lane scored after an offensive rebound, making it 19-18 with 10:50 left in the half.
The rest of the first period remained tight, with the lead going back and forth. No team had an advantage of more than four points.
The Spiders took the lead at 39-38 with 2:48 left when sophomore Joe Kirby scored on a breakaway after a steal by freshman Jacob Gilyard, forcing VCU to take a timeout.
The first half finished with the score tied at 41. Freshman forward Grant Golden led the Spiders offensively and defensively in the half, with 14 points and five rebounds. Fore had eight points and three rebounds.
The Richmond defense struggled to handle VCU’s sophomore forward Justin Tillman, who lead the Rams with 15 points, and Lane, who scored seven points with seven rebounds in the half.
Richmond scored on a layup by Fore to open the second half, but VCU immediately tied it back up. The second half echoed the first half, as the score stayed close and both teams struggled to gain momentum.
VCU took a three-point lead after a steal and a dunk by freshman guard Issac Vann. He scored again on the next possession to give the Rams a 56-51 lead with 12 minutes left, the team's largest lead of the night to that point.
The Rams took a commanding 10-point lead after a three-pointer by guard De’Riante Jenkins with 10:23 left in the game.
VCU went on a 9-0 run to go up 65-53 with 8:36 remaining. The Spiders scored zero points and went 0-7 on field goals in a nearly four-minute span.
Richmond’s star sophomore De’Monte Buckingham left the game with an injury with 8:31 left in the game. He suffered severe cramping in the upper-thigh area and was taken out as a precaution, Mooney said.
The injury acted as a rallying point for the Spiders, Mooney said.
“We knew we had to pick him up,” sophomore Nick Sherod said. “We had to keep fighting for him.”
The Spiders began to come back when Gilyard hit a three-pointer with 6:10 remaining, shrinking VCU’s lead to 65-60. Gilyard and Sherod led the Spiders down the stretch, scoring 13 and 14 points in the half respectively.
Fore made a pair of free throws with 1:13 remaining, cutting VCU’s lead to 74-72. With 31 seconds remaining, Gilyard made a steal off an inbound pass and scored to tie the game at 76.
After VCU failed to score on the next possession, Fore drove to the basket with only four seconds left and was fouled. He scored his first free throw to put the Spiders up 77-76, cementing the win.
When the clock ran out, the student section stormed the court to celebrate alongside the team.
Gilyard and Sherod finished the night with 18 points each, leading Richmond scorers.
Richmond’s record improved to 9-14, a stark contrast to the team’s disappointing 3-13 start to the season. The Spiders will go on to play St. Bonaventure in New York at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Contact sports writer Andrew Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.