Spiders can’t ground No. 7 Flyers in front of sold out crowd

Spiders can’t ground No. 7 Flyers in front of sold out crowd
Richmond Spiders Men's Basketball (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Junior guard Jacob Gilyard scored a game-high 29 points but the Richmond Spiders were unable to keep pace with the #7 Dayton Flyers, falling 87-79 at the Robins Center Saturday evening in front of a sold-out crowd.

The Flyers relied on National Player-of-the-Year candidate Obi Toppin, who finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds, and Jalen Crutcher, who scored 24 points and added seven assists. Richmond (15-5, 5-2 in the Atlantic 10) was led by a season-high 29 points from Gilyard while Nick Sherod added 21 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Gilyard connected on 8-of-15 from the field and hit 5-of-8 from three-point land. Sherod added 4-of-7 from long range Saturday and scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half.

Dayton started strong, hitting its first three three-pointers and edging out to an early 11-2 lead. The Spiders clawed back as junior forward Nathan Cayo scored four-straight in the paint to pull Richmond to within one at 18-17. Minutes later, the sold-out crowd, the first at the Robins Center this season, exploded when Gilyard hit back-to-back three-pointers to give the Spiders a 28-24 lead with 6:57 left in the first half. But Dayton responded with a 16-2 run to retake control before sophomore guard Jake Wojcik closed out the half with a jumper that fell in at the buzzer to trim the deficit to 40-32.

The Spiders struck first in the second half as Gilyard found junior forward Grant Golden for a layup to make it a six-point game. Dayton again answered, running off 12 straight points to take a 52-34 lead with 14 minutes to play. Between the late stages of the first half and the early part of the second half, the Flyers put together a 28-6 run.

Sherod tried to bring the Spiders back, scoring 12 of Richmond’s next 18 points. Richmond was finally able to close the gap to single digits with a 9-0 sprint in less than a minute that made the score 71-63 with 3:48 to play. But Crutcher answerd the Spiders spurt with a three-pointer to extend the lead back to double digits and the Flyers were able to hang on for the 87-79 win.

Despite the loss, Richmond’s 15-5 record is its best through 20 games since the 2010-11 season, when the Spiders advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 and won a school-record 29 games. The Spiders have a quick turnaround and will play Tuesday night at crosstown rival VCU in the Capital City Classic. Tip off at the Siegel Center is set for 7:00pm.

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