The Collegian
Thursday, February 29, 2024

VCU slips by Spiders 77-76 in final seconds at Robins Center

Photo Gallery: Richmond vs. VCU Black & Blue Classic

If Virginia Commonwealth University freshman Bradford Burgess was excited about hitting the winning three-pointer, he certainly was hiding it after the game.

"[The three was] just like another shot," he said. "I felt like I could hit it."

The Rams (6-3) came from behind with the help of Burgess and beat the University of Richmond men's basketball team 77-76 in the Black & Blue Classic Saturday afternoon at the Robins Center. Richmond fell to 5-4.

Burgess' three-pointer with 48 seconds left in the game gave the Rams a 77-74 lead. Richmond had two chances to tie or win the game in the final seconds, but got only a two-point bucket by sophomore Kevin Smith.

With 33 seconds left in the game, sophomore Kevin Anderson missed a three-pointer, and Smith got the rebound basket. After forcing a five-second call on the Rams, junior David Gonzalvez missed a jumper with seven seconds left in the game.

"I didn't shoot that shot with a lot of confidence," Gonzalvez said. "That's a shot I normally make. I should have more confidence at the end of the game."

VCU sophomore Larry Sanders got the rebound off the missed shot and was fouled right away by Richmond sophomore Justin Harper. Sanders missed both free throws and Gonzalvez got the rebound with five seconds left.

Gonzalvez dribbled the ball down court, but missed the desperation three.

The Spiders led for most of the game and were ahead by 10 with 12:16 left to play. Senior Eric Maynor -- VCU's star point guard -- led the Rams back into the game.

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"You look at [Maynor] tonight," VCU coach Anthony Grant said, "and it's not about taking shots. It's about helping the team win."

Maynor came up with two late steals that were key in getting VCU the win. The first time, Maynor stole a pass from Smith, but the possession did not turn into points for VCU.

"I got into a gambling situation on the first one," Maynor said.

Maynor's second steal came off another Smith turnover. This time, Maynor drove to the basket and got fouled by Smith with 2:19 left in the game. Maynor went to the line with the Rams trailing by two. He hit both of his free-throws to tie the game.

"We turned the ball over too much and at critical times," Richmond coach Chris Mooney said. "They were able to turn us over. Hopefully we can learn from that."

Gonzalvez led the Spiders on offense with 19 points. Anderson had 16 points, and Harper and senior Jarhon Giddings added 12 points each. Only two of Giddings' points came during the second half, when he was plagued by foul trouble.

When Giddings fouled out with 1:31 left, Richmond was down by two and junior Ryan Butler came in. After Sanders hit a free-throw for the Rams, Butler hit a three to tie the game with 1:06 left. But that's when Burgess hit his lone three of the game, giving the Rams enough for a victory.

Richmond must bounce back from this game quickly and will face a tough test on Dec. 19 when Wake Forest University -- currently the No. 11 team in both the AP Top 25 and ESPN/USA Today Poll -- comes to the Robins Center to face the Spiders.

"We have a team that is going to come in here top-10 in the country," Mooney said. "I don't think there will be a let-down. I have faith in my guys."

Contact Andrew Prezioso at andrew.prezioso@richmond.edu

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