With 7.4 seconds left in regulation, Richmond had a three-point lead on the men’s basketball team after guard ShawnDre’ Jones hit a pair of free throws. All the Spiders had to do to win was not give up a three.
They couldn’t. Sophomore guard Paul Jorgensen banked in a triple to give free basketball to a delirious crowd in the Smith Center. The Colonials made seven free throws in the first overtime period and, with the clock winding down, were up by three.
They, too, gave up the only play that could deny them the win, as Jones knifed through Yuta Watanabe for a bucket, got fouled and hit the extra point to send the game to a second overtime period in which the Spiders (11-8, 3-4 A-10) ran away with the win, 98-90 early Friday morning.
“I would have liked to see us win after coming back and having a three-point lead,” head coach Mike Lonergan said. “The only way you can lose is if you give up a three-point play and we gave up a three-point play and our guys stood around and watched us give up a three-point play, you know, somebody should have came over and blocked that shot after the foul, done something but their best player, the guard, manhandled Yuta and he fouled him and it cost us the game.”
Jones, who got more than half of Richmond’s 21 points from the free throw line with a 12-for-14 mark, scored 29 points on 8-of-17 shooting and was one of four Spiders in double-figures. Marshall Wood, who Lonergan said the scouting report had stressed as a shooter, had 22 on 7-of-9 shooting after being left open constantly. Terry Allen had 15 and Khwan Fore had 18 as the Spiders shot 60 percent for the game.
“Marshall Wood’s a shooter,” junior forward Tyler Cavanaugh said. “We left him early, way too much, myself included and that’s what he does and he did it tonight. Tall, shooter, you can’t leave him and that’s what killed us.”
It was head coach Mike Lonergan’s birthday and enough to make any man go grey early. Despite all five starters scoring in double-figures, the Colonials (15-5, 4-3 A-10) took some bad shots, settling for jumpers early and generating only 11 assists. Seniors Kevin Larsen and Patricio Garino, who fouled out in the second overtime, led the pack with 17 points each.
GW had a chance to go into halftime tied at 39 or even ahead, but Hart threw away a ball he caught after it was blocked by Watanabe to give Richmond the final possession of the first half, which the Spiders turned into a three-point play by Jones and a 42-39 lead at the break.
The Spiders made 6-of-10 three-point shots in the first half, burning the Colonials with ball movement and off screens, but GW stayed in the game with 11 offensive rebounds and a 14-5 edge in second chance points. By the end of the game that advantage was 24-5, and GW’s 20 offensive rebounds helped the Colonials take 20 more shots than the Spiders.
Out of the gate in the second half, Richmond went on a 7-0 run and got up by as many as eleven points not long after. The Spiders couldn’t miss, it seemed, and the Colonials weren’t finding anything inside.
“It’s hard to keep digging yourself out of that hole when you get yourself down like that. You can take something from it saying that we fought back but this wasn’t something, we didn’t have the outcome we want obviously and we’ve got to be better defensively. 98 points is unacceptable,” McDonald said.
The Colonials came out in the 1-3-1 defense to start the second half but quickly went back to playing man. For a time, it worked. Cavanaugh, who had just six points in the first half but finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds, went on a 9-0 run all by himself. Watanabe, who finished with 14 points on 5-for-10 shooting, six rebounds and three blocks tacked on with a bank-shot from the baseline to tie the game at 63. Not long after, Jorgensen’s prayer was answered to keep GW’s hopes alive.
“We started playing D, we got shotclock violations, we had a couple stops in a row and then Paulie made a great shot, that was big,” Cavanaugh said.
The Colonials couldn’t stop fouling in the second overtime period, in which Jones scored six points from the free throw line alone. The once-giddy crowd cleared out early.
GW has just two days to rest before heading to George Mason on Sunday. Tip is set for 12 p.m.
“They needed a win,” Lonergan said. “They wanted it more than us. Fighting back, it took a lot of energy from us but we couldn’t guard with a three-point lead and the game on the line.”