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Richmond loses heartbreaker to Mississippi State in NIT quarterfinals

richmond basketballD.J. Stewart hit a three with two seconds left to give Mississippi State a 68-67 win over Richmond Thursday night in the NIT quarterfinals.

The Spiders led for more than 37 minutes and was up by two with less than 10 seconds remaining when Sal Koureissi rebounded a missed Mississippi State free throw and fired the ball to Andre Gustavson streaking up the far sideline. Gustavson was grabbed by the final Bulldog between him and the basket and went to the line to shoot a one-and-one with eight seconds to play.

Gustavson’s attempt hit the back of the rim and was rebounded by the Bulldogs.Stewart took an outlet pass and raced up the court, pulling up from the left wing for the game-winning shot over the outstretched arms of Koureissi.

Richmond’s deep inbounds attempt on the ensuing possession was knocked away, preserving a one-point win for the Bulldogs.

Jacob Gilyard broke a 65-65 tie with a floater from the right side with 38 seconds remaining to give Richmond its final lead of the evening. He finished with 22 points, tied for his most in a game this season, and a team-high six assists and four steals.

Matt Grace added a career-best 16 points while Gustavson matched his season best with nine points.

The Spiders, playing without leading scorer Blake Francis (hip/back injury) and second-leading scorer Grant Golden (fractured finger), opened the game on a 9-4 run and led by as many as seven in the first half before Mississippi State rallied to tie the game at 34 at halftime.

Richmond converted 18 Mississippi State turnovers into 24 points, helping to offset a 39-23 Bulldogs advantage in rebounds.

The Spiders were seeking to advance to the NIT semifinals for the first time in program history. Richmond has now reached the NIT quarterfinals in 2002, 2015, 2017, and 2021.

augusta free press
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