The University of Richmond men’s basketball team lost to Longwood University with a score of 63-58 Friday night in their season opener at the Robins Center.
The Spiders had a 7-point lead late in the second half. But they failed to make a single field goal in the game’s final five minutes, allowing Longwood the time to come back and win.
“We weren’t good defensively, we weren't good offensively,” redshirt sophomore guard Jacob Gilyard said. “Today wasn’t on a freshman or younger guys, but it was on me, Nick [Sherod] and Grant [Golden]. We were expected to lead the team and didn't do it.”
The team had a 38 percent field goal percentage and went 6-16 in free throw opportunities.
Richmond struggled offensively to begin the first half. The game remained close for the first 10 minutes, but Longwood went on a 14-4 run for a 23-17 lead with eight minutes left.
Gilyard was the highlight of the first half for the Spiders, with 11 points, including two 3-pointers and two steals.
Longwood took a 10-point lead on a steal and breakaway dunk with 3:16 left in the half from guard Isaiah Walton, putting the Lancers up 32-22, their largest lead of the game.
Richmond rallied late, however. A pair of back-to-back 3-pointers from junior Nick Sherod and senior Julius Johnson cut the deficit to 34-33, securing the momentum going into halftime.
The Spiders continued the scoring, going on a 7-0 run, to begin the second half. Gilyard had a breakaway steal early, but was blocked for the layup. An offensive rebound from first-year Jake Wojcik, however, gave Gilyard the opportunity for another 3-pointer, putting Richmond up 41-34.
Richmond maintained the lead for the proceeding 10 minutes, but a pair of consecutive 3-pointers from Longwood’s Lorenzo Phillips tied the game at 49 with 8:44 left on the clock.
The contest remained tight for the remainder of the game, with neither team pulling until the final minute.
Another 3-pointer from Phillips put Longwood up 59-56 with a minute left, its first lead of the half, and the Lancers did not give it up.
Longwood ended the game on an 11-2 run in the final five minutes of the game, with Richmond’s only points coming from two free throws.
Richmond had the opportunity to tie the game with 20 seconds left. After a free throw from Golden cut the Longwood lead to two, Gilyard stole the ball from Phillips on the inbound pass, but turned the ball over on a double dribble.
“We had a lot of opportunities but we shot the ball so poorly,” Richmond head coach Chris Mooney said. "We failed to move the ball and were not as fluid as usually are.”
Gilyard led Richmond scorers with 15 points along with five assists and six steals. Golden had 14 points and six rebounds.
The Spiders will next play St. Francis College at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Robins Stadium.
Contact sports editor Andrew Wilson at email@example.com.