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Richmond Spiders, Gilyard steal win over Toledo Rockets

richmond basketballMoments before tip-off, Jacob Gilyard stood alone at center court and looked up to see a banner unveiled in the Robins Center rafters commemorating Gilyard’s new title as the all-time NCAA Division I steal leader. Moments before the final horn, Gilyard made two game-sealing steals for Richmond, and pointed up to his banner after each.

In his first game since setting the NCAA career steals record Sunday at Northern Iowa, Gilyard made the game-winning three-pointer with 34 seconds to play and then secured the win by coming up with steals on Toledo’s final two possessions.

Despite coming all the way back from a 19-point second-half deficit, Richmond trailed 68-67 in the final minute before Gilyard gave the Spiders the lead for good with a three-pointer from the wing off a pass from Isaiah Wilson with 34 seconds remaining. With the clock ticking down and Richmond leading 71-69, Toledo’s Ryan Rollins, who entered the game as the MAC’s leading scorer, went one-on-one with Gilyard. When Rollins dribbled left and attempted to pull up, Gilyard reached in and cleanly smacked the ball away for his fourth steal of the game.

After the game, Gilyard summed up the possession pretty clearly. ” He ran into a guy who does this often,” said Gilyard of his 390th career steal. Gilyard recorded steal number 391 just before the buzzer, stripping Toledo’s J.T. Shumate of the ball as he tried to collect a baseball pass and sending the crowd of 6,592 rowdy fans into a frenzy.

“The crowd was incredible,” head coach Chris Mooney said. “They were amazing. It would have been hard to win this game without this crowd’s energy behind us.”

Toledo scored the game’s first 13 points and led 41-24 at halftime, holding Richmond to just 8-34 from the field and 4-17 from three-point range in the opening 20 minutes.

Gilyard got the Richmond offense going with back-to-back three pointers early in the second half. His second started a 17-0 Richmond run that cut Toledo’s lead from 18 to 46-45 with 13:45 to play.

Nathan Cayo tied the game at 52 with a layup at the 10:20 mark, and Richmond took its first lead of the contest with 8:28 remaining on three free throws by Tyler Burton, part of a 10-0 run that pushed Richmond’s lead to 62-55 with 7:38 to go.

Toledo responded with a 12-3 stretch to retake the lead at 67-65, but Richmond locked down defensively to hold the Rockets to no field goals while forcing three turnovers in the final three-plus minutes of the game.

Burton finished the game with a team-leading 17 points, including 15 in the second half, and nine rebounds. Nick Sherod came off the bench to score 14 points and make four three-pointers, tying Darien Brothers for the eighth-most career three-pointers in program history (205) in the process.

But the night belonged to Gilyard, who recorded 13 points, seven assists, and five steals with no turnovers. “It was probably the best moment of my life if I’m being honest with you,” said Gilyard when asked about seeing his banner unveiled prior to the game.

Richmond is back in action Friday, December 17, to take on NC State in Charlotte, NC, as part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Shootout. The 6:30 p.m. game will be televised on the ACC Network.

augusta free press
augusta free press