PITTSBURGH - In a rivalry game that featured momentum shifts, lead changes, big shots and a dramatic final minute, the Richmond Spiders came up just short to VCU in overtime, 87-77.
The Spiders overcame an 11-point first half deficit to build a six-point lead in the second half. Freshman Nick Sherod hit a three-pointer to break a tie with less than a minute to play, but VCU’s JeQuan Lewis hit a three on the other end and Richmond’s potential game-winning shot in regulation fell out.
Richmond outscored VCU, 19-7, in points off turnovers and was also able to get out and run with a 15-11 in fast-break points. However, VCU used its size against a Spider lineup with just one player over 6-4 to outscore the Spiders in the paint and on second-chance points.
Freshman De’Monte Buckingham scored a career-high 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting with four threes. He also had three assists and a steal. Sherod finished with 15 points and six rebounds, many of them against the bigger VCU forwards.
Although Richmond trailed by as many as 11 in the first half, a jumper from Cline, a forced turnover and a three Buckingham in the final 40 seconds of the first frame gave UR life and cut the halftime margin to 36-31.
Richmond opened the second half on a 7-2 run to tie the game on a Buckingham three-pointer and eventually grabbed a one-point lead on a floater from Jones. Free throws from Fore put Richmond up 57-51, but VCU responded with six straight points from Samir Doughty to tie the game.
The Rams went ahead 64-60 with 4:21 left, but consecutive transition layups from Sherod and Buckingham tied the game. Both teams traded points down the stretch and the Spiders had the ball with less than a minute and a tie game.
Sherod’s three exploded the Spider cheering section and Richmond led by three with 35 seconds left. However, Lewis answered with his own three and Jones’ shot at the buzzer spilled out.
In the overtime period, VCU scored the first six points and Richmond was unable to get threes to fall to climb back as the Rams eventually won, 87-77.