The Collegian
Monday, October 02, 2023

Spiders lose as second half comeback comes up short against George Mason

<p>Senior forward Tyler Burton shoots for a score at the Robins Center on March 4.&nbsp;</p>

Senior forward Tyler Burton shoots for a score at the Robins Center on March 4. 

The University of Richmond men’s basketball team lost to George Mason University 62-60 at the Robins Center March 4. 

As it was the last regular season game, before the tip-off, UR honored its five seniors in their senior day celebration. Forward Tyler Burton, guard Gabe Arizin, graduate guards Connor Crabtree and Andre Gustavson and graduate forward Matt Grace were all honored.

“It’s always disappointing when you lose and certainly when you lose on senior day,” UR interim head coach Peter Thomas said in a postgame press conference. “But there’s a lot I think we can take from this game.”

UR started with the first bucket of the game, a layup from Gustavson. However, what followed was a GMU 8-0 run, showing the Patriots’ strong play early. At halftime, the Patriots led the Spiders by double-digits, 37-26.

The Spiders shot just over 30% from the field in the first half, making only 7 of 22 field goals. From 3-point range, UR shot at a 25% clip, making 2 of 8 3-pointers. 

The second half was one of runs, as the Patriots began the half with a 13-5 run. GMU hoisted their largest lead of the game, 18 points, at the 13:54 mark. However, the Spiders turned on the jets to get themselves back in the game, going on their own 16-0 run to bring the score to 49-47. 

For the rest of the half, gameplay was back and forth. With 33 seconds to go in regulation, the Spiders controlled the scoreboard with a two-point lead, 60-58. GMU tied things up after a foul from senior center Neal Quinn sent the Patriots to the line. 

The Spiders had the ball and a chance to take the lead with time running out, but a Grace turnover led to a GMU fastbreak layup, putting the Patriots on top. This left the Spiders with just four seconds, forcing graduate forward Zae Bigelow to heave up a last second 3-pointer that fell short. 

“I don’t think anybody’s leaving this game without a belief that we could win,” Thomas said, referring to the upcoming Atlantic 10 conference Tournament. “We were one possession away from winning the game tonight, one made or missed shot away from winning the game tonight.”

On the day, Burton scored 17 points. Burton scored in double-figures in all of the Spiders’ 31 games this season. Bigelow was UR’s only other double-digit scorer with 10 points off the bench. 

With a final regular season record of 14-17 and a final conference record of 7-11, the Spiders finished in 12th place in the A-10. 

UR will next compete in the A-10 Tournament, which will take place in Brooklyn, NY from March 7 to March 12. The Spiders’ first round matchup will be against No. 13 University of Massachusetts at 11:30 a.m. March 7. 

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“The thing with the tournament is, I mean everything up to it matters with the seeding-wise and what-not but our seed’s gonna be our seed and none of that matters when you step out on the court,” Burton said after the game. “It’s one team versus the other team and whoever plays harder, scores more points, wins.” 

Contact sports editor Jimmy James at

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