DENTON, TX (WWBT) - Richmond defenders applied pressure and had their arms raised as D.J. Stewart put up his last second three-point attempt, but sometimes a player just connects on a tough shot.
Such was the case on Thursday night, as Stewart’s triple with two seconds left gave Mississippi State the lead and sank the Spiders, 68-67, in the NIT quarterfinals in Denton, Texas.
With Richmond leading, 67-65, Andre Gustavson was fouled with eight seconds to play, sending him to the line to shoot a one-and-one attempt. Gustavson missed the front end, setting the stage for Stewart’s heroics.
In a tight contest the entire way, Jacob Gilyard’s short jumper with 38 seconds remaining gave the Spiders a 67-65 lead. Abdul Ado missed two free throw attempts for the Bulldogs just before Gustavson was fouled.
Gilyard scored 22 points, dished out six assists and picked up four steals, while Matt Grace added a career-high 16 points. The Spiders forced 18 MSU turnovers, scoring 24 points off of them, while only giving the ball away seven times themselves. The Bulldogs owned the glass, however, winning the battle of the boards, 39-23.
Richmond was playing without its top two scorers for the second straight game. Blake Francis sat out for the third consecutive contest with a back injury, while Grant Golden has not played throughout the NIT due to a fractured finger.
The Spiders’ season ends with a record of 14-9.
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