Gilyard, Francis put in 17 each, Richmond tops Duquesne, 79-72
Richmond (12-5, 5-3 A-10) scored the game’s final seven points as UR improved to 24-2 vs Duquesne since joining the Atlantic 10 in 2001.
“I thought we made enough tough plays down the stretch to win the game,” said Richmond coach Chris Mooney of his team, which outscored the Dukes 10-2 in the game’s final 90 seconds. Despite leading by as many as 14 in the second half, the game’s final outcome was in doubt until Francis hit a pair of free throws with 19 seconds remaining to push the Richmond lead to four and Gilyard intercepted a cross-court pass on the Dukes final possession.
“A lot of it is experience,” said Gilyard when asked about what made the difference in the game’s final minutes. “We made a couple of big-time shots towards the end and made a couple of free throws.”
Richmond took control of the game early, building a 12-5 lead in the opening six minutes and had doubled up the Dukes at 30-15 with seven minutes remaining in the half following a pair of Francis jumpshots. Duquesne used a 9-0 run to close the gap before halftime, narrowing Richmond’s lead to 40-33 at the break.
The Spiders opened the second half with a 7-0 run to push their lead to 14 before the Dukes responded. Working the ball inside and crashing the offensive boards, Duquesne chipped away at the Spiders lead over the next 10 minutes, finally taking its first lead since 2-0 when a dunk by Michael Hughes made the score 62-61 Duquesne with 6:59 remaining.
The Dukes still led by one before Grant Golden tapped a loose ball to Gilyard for a corner three-pointer that put the Spiders back in front 72-70 with 1:30 to play. Following another bucket by Hughes, who led Duquesne with a game-high 20 points, to tie the game at 72, Gilyard and Francis each converted a pair of free throws to put Richmond up four. Gilyard hit a three-pointer at the buzzer following his game-sealing steal to end the scoring.
Gilyard’s 17 points increased his career total at Richmond to 1,460, passing Justin Harper for 16th-most in program history. Francis scored a team-high 11 of his 19 points after halftime, while Golden finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists, tying his career best and matching his total in UR’s win over Duquesne last season.
Tyler Burton added 16 points and eight rebounds, while Nathan Cayo scored 13 points with six rebounds.
The Spiders will return to action Tuesday with a home game against Massachusetts. Tip time is 6 p.m. and the game will be televised on NBC Sports Washington Plus and streamed on ESPN Plus.