The University of Richmond men’s basketball team defeated George Mason University in the final seconds of the game with a score of 62-59 at the Robins Center yesterday.
The Spiders-Patriots matchup was rescheduled from Jan. 11 to Feb. 8 because of COVID-19 protocols. The last three matchups proved successful, with the Spiders walking away with double-digit wins each time.
“I think you go into it one game at a time,” graduate guard Jacob Gilyard said during the post-game press conference. “We [forgot about the matchup] and focused on the next game.”
Gilyard led the Spiders with 23 team points. His eight field goals, seven of which were three-pointers, proved him to be unstoppable against the Patriots. Junior forward Tyler Burton followed Gilyard by scoring 14 points with four field goals, two of which were threes. Graduate forward Grant Golden wrapped up the double-digit scoring players with 11 points with five field goals.
Back-to-back threes from Burton and Gilyard got the Spiders started with a six-nothing lead. GMU followed with a three and a layup, but Gilyard shut them down with another three at 15:44.
By 14:43, the game was tied. There were sixteen lead changes throughout the game, eight for each team.
The remainder of the first period was intense for both sides. The Patriots sank a three against UR to gain the lead, but Gilyard responded with a rush, pause and a swish — sinking his third three-pointer. Moments later, Burton and Golden added a combined five points to the score, giving UR a 20-16 lead.
The clock raced, and with only seconds left in the first period, GMU scored a layup at 0:14 to gain the lead, bringing UR down to 29-31.
“I don’t think we shot well enough necessarily in the first half,” Head Coach Chris Mooney said. “We just tried to be a little more aggressive.”
In the second period, Golden pulled up outside the paint and shot a jumper followed by a free throw, and the Spiders gained the lead. Still feeling the heat, he gave the defense a shoulder to the chest, jumped back and sank another jumper in the faces of his defenders.
Senior guard Andre Gustavson stole the ball straight from their fingers with a rebound, and handed it off to Golden who drove through the defense’s wall and scored a layup, bringing the score to 36-31.
As the clock read 8:21, UR was down 48-49. Golden was called to the line following a foul by the Patriots and was given two free throws.
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He sank one to tie the game but missed the other. However, he was quick to grab his own rebound. He drove through the defense again and put the ball in the net with a jumpshot to gain UR the lead.
The clock read 5:25 when the Patriots placed a jumpshot in the net, but seconds later, Gilyard found himself in the far corner of the court with only inches to spare. He jumped and swished for his fifth three-pointer of the game.
In giant red numbers, the clock read 2:31 when a field goal from the Patriots brought the score to 56-59 — the Spiders trailing only three points behind.
The red numbers then read 1:24. Gilyard sank his sixth three-pointer and the game was tied at 59-59.
At 0:00, the horn sounded to mark the end of the game, but it was drowned out by the sound of the crowd erupting into a roar. Gilyard sank his seventh three-pointer of the game and gave UR the points needed to win the game for a final score of 62-59.
“I thought the Robin’s Center and the atmosphere, the fans were great,” Mooney said. “It makes it so exciting. So many college games come down to plays at the end. We’ve certainly been a part of plenty of them.”
UR will face GMU again — for the second time in 48 hours — at 7 p.m. on Feb. 9 at the Patriot’s home court EagleBank Arena in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Contact sports co-editor Andrew Cardounel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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