UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. – T.J. Cline and De'Monte Buckingham did quite a job putting their final stamp on their Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year resumes in the regular season finale on Saturday in front of yet another sold-out Robins Center crowd.
Cline tallied his second triple-double of the year and Buckingham poured in a career-high 23 points to lead the University of Richmond men’s basketball team to a thrilling 72-62 win over Saint Louis. The victory locked up the third seed in next week’s Atlantic 10 Tournament for the Spiders.
On senior day, Cline finished with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting, 12 assists and 11 rebounds to become just the second player in the country with multiple triple-doubles this year. In the past five years, Cline is one of just five players to have multiple triple-doubles in the same season.
In somewhat of a passing of the torch moment, Buckingham was outstanding with 23 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including a perfect 4-of-4 from long range. He also grabbed six rebounds and picked up four steals on the afternoon.
Senior ShawnDre' Jones was the third Spider in double figures with 11 points on the afternoon, including three threes.
Cline and the Spiders got off to a fast start as Richmond grabbed an 11-2 lead five minutes into the contest behind five points from the Plano, Texas native.
Richmond would push their lead into double-digits on two occasions in the first half, but SLU would keep it close thanks to four three-pointers in the final 10 minutes to make it a four-point game with under a minute to play.
The Spiders put an exclamation point on the half when Cline grabbed an offensive board, delivered an outlet pass to a sprinting Jones, who dished to Buckingham, who got the bucket and the foul to send Richmond into the break with a 33-26 lead.
SLU would show fight in the second half behind Elliott Welmer and Mike Crawford, who combined for 27 second-half points, and tied the game on three occasions, including a 59-59 tie with under three minutes to play.
However, Buckingham ignited an incredible finish with two three-pointers in just over 90 seconds to lead the Spiders to a 13-3 run to secure the 72-62 victory.
Richmond will now head to Pittsburgh as the third seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The Spiders will await the winner of the sixth seed and 11-14 game on Friday at 8:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.