The Richmond Spiders were defeated by Duquesne University 62-67 in the second round of the A-10 Tournament on March 4, ending their NCAA Tournament chances and potentially their season.
In the opening minutes of the game, UR and Duquesne exchanged baskets back and forth. Mid-way through the first half, the Spiders were able to pull ahead to a 22-13 lead. Sophomore forward Tyler Burton led the scoring with 10 points. Burton finished the first half with 13 points on 57% shooting.
The Spiders turned over the ball five times in the first half, allowing Duquesne to stay in the game. Senior forward Marcus Weathers helped give Duquesne a spark offensively, scoring nine points on 60% shooting in the first half.
With less than a minute remaining in the half, senior graduate student Grant Golden, who played with an injured finger, was able to score back-to-back layups. At halftime, UR led Duquesne 37-30.
The Spiders continued to hold the lead early on in the second half as both teams struggled to shoot the ball. With 10 minutes remaining in the game, the Spiders led 48-42.
However, Duquesne started to pick up their defensive intensity. Furthermore, they were also able to find more success scoring inside, finishing the second half with 22 points in the paint.
"They continued to throw it in. They ultimately wanted to throw the ball inside, and they were more and more effective as the game went on," UR head coach Chris Mooney said following the loss.
As Duquesne started to cut down on the lead, UR, who was without graduate student guard Blake Francis, struggled to make shots on the offensive side. The Spiders shot 27% from the field and 14% from the three-point line in the second half.
With three minutes, left in the game, Duquesne took a 55-58 lead. Francis's absence from the game was felt down the stretch. In the final nine minutes, the Spiders only connected on one field goal.
"It is going to be tough without any starter, but especially Blake, senior guard Jacob Gilyard said. "I think in that nine minutes that we didn't score he would have gotten us a shot."
With the Spiders' struggles, Duquesne was able to close out the game, leading to a 62-67 victory.
This defeat was disappointing for UR, who were preseason favorites to win the A-10.
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"It wasn't what we wanted it to be, obviously," Gilyard said about the season. "We felt like we should have been a lot better."
With the loss, the Spiders only remaining chance to gain a bid to the NCAA tournament is gone. Their season isn't officially over yet, however. The team could still receive an invitation to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT), commonly thought of as a "consolation" tournament to many.
Contact sports writer Henry Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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