Despite junior Ryan Butler's best effort, the University of Richmond men's basketball team lost another close game as it fell to St. Bonaventure University 71-67, Sat. Jan. 17.
Junior Jonathan Hall drove to the basket for a three-point play to give the Bonnies a two-point lead with 23 seconds left in the game.
Richmond had two chances to either tie or win the game but missed both opportunities.
Sophomore Justin Harper put up a three with 11 seconds left, but his shot was off and junior Maurice Thomas got the rebound for St. Bonaventure. Thomas -- who added a career-high 25 points to lead all scorers in the game -- was called for a traveling violation, giving the ball back to the Spiders with 7 seconds remaining.
On the in-bounds play, the pass deflected off of the hands of freshman Francis-Cedric Martel to Harper and Bonnies junior Chris Matthews. Matthews came up with the loose ball and was fouled by Harper. Matthews hit both free-throws and sealed the game for the Bonnies.
"It's a play we normally run," Butler said. "It's a screen and hopefully the defender helps and then we get the other guy to slip to the basket, but they covered it well. I needed to get that ball inbounds because we didn't have any timeouts left."
With the loss, Richmond fell to 1-7 during games decided by nine points or less. The Spiders are 8-1 in games decided by 10 points or more.
"We need just to continue to be very determined and continue to execute as well as we had been to get ourselves in order to be competitive," Richmond coach Chris Mooney said. "I thought we weren't as good on defense down the stretch [against St. Bonaventure]."
Overall, Richmond is 9-8, 1-1 in the Atlantic-10 Conference. St. Bonaventure improved to 11-6 and 2-2 in the A-10.
Butler added 14 points off of the bench and was 4-5 from three-point range. When he came off of the bench early during the first half, he hit a pair from behind the arc, sparking an early Richmond comeback.
The Bonnies started the game on a 14-4 run, putting the Spiders behind early. Mooney said that the slow start had nothing to do with the loss 62-48 to Virginia Tech in the previous game.
"I think we were ready to play," Mooney said. "I think we came in and thought we would be able to pressure them and when we didn't turn them over they attacked our pressure well."
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Martel added a career-high 13 points off of the bench while sophomore Kevin Anderson led the Spiders with 15 points.
Richmond returns to action at 7 p.m. on Jan. 21 with a home game against the University of Rhode Island.
"This kind of game can bring some teams together," Butler said. "[We need to] find out what we did wrong and not let it happen again. Hopefully we will learn from this and get the next one."
Contact staff writer Andrew Prezioso at firstname.lastname@example.org
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