WASHINGTON, DC (WWBT) - Many bracket experts have Richmond on the bubble and closing in on its first NCAA Tournament since 2011, but with that comes a razor thin margin for error. After a loss this past weekend, the Spiders answered the call and did enough to grab a road win on Wednesday night.
Blake Francis scored 19 points, Richmond led the entire second half and held off George Washington for a 73-70 victory in Foggy Bottom. With the victory, UR completes the regular season sweep of the Colonials.
It was a back and forth opening frame that saw George Washington open up a 23-17 lead with 7:17 to play in the half. Back-to-back Colonial three pointers along with a pair of free throws made for an 8-0 GW run to open up the advantage. Richmond would claw back and Nick Sherod’s triple with 32 seconds left in the stanza was good enough to put the Spiders up 33-32 heading into the locker room.
Richmond came out of the break firing, scoring the first eight points of the second half, and a Tyler Burton three-pointer with 13:39 to play gave the Spiders a 53-41 lead. George Washington answered, trimming its deficit to 59-55 with 9:19 remaining and pulled to within three points just four minutes later. Richmond, however, would hold the lead throughout the frame, as Jacob Gilyard’s triple with 3:29 left swelled the UR advantage back to six points. The Spiders would only connect on two of their six free throws in the final 31 seconds to keep the Colonials within striking distance, and the home team would have a shot to tie the game in the final seconds, but Richmond prevailed.
In addition to Francis’s 19 points, Nick Sherod added 15 points, while Grant Golden chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds.
The Spiders won the rebounding battle, 38-34, and only committed eight turnovers while forcing 15, scoring 22 points off of those turnovers. Richmond found itself on the winning end despite shooting 42 percent from the floor and the Colonials shooting 49 percent.
Chris Mooney’s squad improved to 21-7, 11-4 in the Atlantic 10. With St. Bonaventure’s overtime loss to Duquesne, Richmond moved back into sole possession of third place in the conference standings.
The Spiders return home on Saturday for a showdown with Massachusetts. Tip-off is set for 6:00pm at the Robins Center.
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