The University of Richmond Spiders lost 77-57 after a disheartening second half against Virginia Commonwealth University at their home court in the Stuart C. Siegel Center on Friday.
UR entered the Siegel Center sitting at sixth place in the Atlantic 10 Championship with a 8-5 record. The Rams sat at second place with a 10-3 record. The last time UR and VCU met, the Spiders lost 64-62 in the Richmond Capital City Classic.
The Rams gained possession after winning the jump ball but UR was first to score. Junior forward Tyler Burton recovered a missed layup by VCU and passed it to graduate forward Grant Golden, who successfully scored a layup following a fast break. Graduate forward Nathan Cayo followed behind Golden with a quick hookshot to secure a 4-0 lead.
Burton added a stepback jumper, and after a foul by the Rams, Golden stepped up to the line and went 2-2 with free throws.
With 10:31 left in the half, graduate guard Jacob Gilyard sank a three to gain the lead against the Rams, and Cayo followed up with a layup. Gilyard sank another three after Cayo’s layup, which left UR to lead 18-14.
With 2:01 on the clock, UR was ahead 28-20, but the lead was short-lived. The Rams, in the remaining two minutes of the first half, tied the game with a jumper at 1:42. They also added a layup and an and-one point to bring the score to 28-25 at 1:04.
In the final moments of the first half, the Rams had possession of the ball and kept it at the top of the key to run down the clock. With 25 seconds left, the Rams swished a three to tie the first half 28-28 leaving the Spiders with no time to make a play.
In the first moments of the second half, the Rams were quick to push through UR’s defense and dunked on the Spiders to gain the lead. UR attempted to retaliate against the dunk with a layup but was quickly swatted down by the Rams, who then added another three-pointer to extend their lead against the Spiders to 33-28.
The Rams continued to put points on the board with an excessively strong offense, and by the 17:00 mark, the Spiders were down 33-38.
With 16:28 on the clock and a hail mary pass, graduate guard Nick Sherod sank a three-pointer to shrink the gap to 40-36, but the Rams were right behind, adding a jumper to extend the lead once again. A minute later, the Rams added another three-pointer and brought the score to 45-37.
The Spiders wouldn’t see another point added to their score until 12:03 with a layup by senior guard Andre Gustavson to end the UR’s dry streak.
The remainder of the second half was detrimental not only for the Spiders but their fans, too. The Rams continued to put up point after point against UR’s defense with a series of three-pointers, fast breaks and jumpers that left the Spiders in numerous point droughts.
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At the eight-minute mark, the Rams were leading 59-42, but the Spiders added five points from a layup and a series of free throws. The Rams lead grew to 20 points by the 6:30 minute mark with a score of 64-44.
By the end of the game, UR added an additional 13 points, but the Rams secured the win with a final score of 77-57.
The Spiders will play again at 7 p.m. on Feb. 22 against George Washington University at the Colonial’s Charles E. Smith Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact sports co-editor Andrew Cardounel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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