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Thrilling Richmond comebacks hands No. 19 VCU first Atlantic 10 loss

Jan 24, 2013, 10:16 PM EDT

VCU Richmond Basketball

No. 19 VCU had this game won.

After struggling to gain control against a fired up and feisty Richmond team for the first 35 minutes of the game, the Rams had all but sealed up a win over their intra-city rival. There were 43 seconds left, and a tip-in from Juvonte Reddic had capped a 9-0 run over a five-minute stretch that game VCU a 63-56 lead.

But after a bucket from Richmond’s Cedrick Lindsay, Treveon Graham stepped to the line and made just 1-2. Troy Daniels fouled Kendall Anthony, who finished with 26 points, while he was shooting a three on the ensuing possession, and Anthony hit all three free throws. All of a sudden that lead was down to just three points. After Daniels went 1-2 from the line, Anthony drilled a three that cut VCU’s led to 67-66.

Daniels finally knocked down both free throws, but instead of fouling up three, Shaka Smart allowed Richmond to play out the possession. Darien Brothers drilled a three with 1.5 seconds left, and this game was headed to overtime tied at 69.

And VCU never had a chance in OT.

Richmond jumped out on a 10-3 run and eventually ended up winning 86-74, improving to 3-2 in the Atlantic 10. The Spiders are now just one game out of first place in the conference, as VCU was the third undefeated team in the league to lose in the last 24 hours. Charlotte knocked off Xavier last night only minutes after La Salle shocked No. 9 Butler.

If I’m VCU, I’m not too overly concerned about this performance. This was a rivalry game. In rivalry games, records don’t matter. Ability doesn’t matter. Home court does, and this was in Richmond’s gym.

Maybe that’s why the Rams only forced 11 turnovers in 45 minutes of hoops. And maybe that’s why they only shot 3-17 from beyond the arc while allowing Richmond to go 12-27 from deep. What I’m sure of, however, is that VCU’s inability to force Richmond into turnovers and that discrepancy from the three-point line are the two reasons that the Rams are heading home with a loss.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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