RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Richmond’s biggest player was on the bench in street clothes. Its smallest players filled in admirably.
Jacob Gilyard scored 13 of his 22 points during a 23-2 second-half run and Richmond beat Boston College 64-44 on Saturday.
Blake Francis added 18 points for the Spiders (6-1), who improved to 5-0 at home for the first time since 2014. The Spiders were without Grant Golden, their No. 4 scorer and top rebounder, and won despite getting just 2 points from scoring leader Nick Sherod, who missed eight of nine shots from the field.
“For us to win any game without Grant Golden is significant and impressive,” Spiders coach Chris Mooney said of the 6-foot-10 junior, who averages 12 points and 8.5 rebounds but was held out to allow a left ankle injury to heal. “Really significant. Really impressive.”
The game was tied at 30 before Tyler Burton’s dunk sparked the Spiders run. Gilyard added a basket and two 3-pointers, prompting a Boston College timeout. CJ Felder ended the Spiders run with a basket, but only temporarily as Richmond scored the next 13 points over a span of nearly seven minutes.
“We didn’t have a lot of energy in the first half. We came out kind of lackadaisical,” Gilyard said. But, he added, “we were able to get stops at the beginning of the second half and get out and run and I think that is when we are at our best.”
Jay Heath scored 14 to lead the Eagles (4-4). They had scoring droughts of 6:22 and 4:03 in the first half, but still led 26-25 at the break. In the second half, they had a scoreless stretches of 4 ½ minutes and 6:52 with a lone basket from CJ Felder in the middle. BC finished 16 of 55 from the field, just 29.1%.
“We didn’t play as hard, I thought, defensively and they made shots,” Eagles coach Jim Christian said. “They got into a good rhythm. They kept doing the things that they do and we stopped doing the things that we did well in the first half.”
Gilyard, just 5-foot-9, also added eight rebounds, six assists and five of the Spiders’ 11 steals. Richmond forced 18 turnovers and turned them into 21 points.
Boston College: The Eagles first three losses came to Belmont, DePaul and Saint Louis, and they step up in class significantly next week with games at home against Northwestern and on the road at Notre Dame. … Their 26-25 halftime lead came despite first-half scoring droughts of 6:22 and 4:03.
Richmond: Already missing big man Grant Golden with a left ankle injury, the Spiders lost their next best big man option when Nathan Cato went down with a right ankle injury with 1:03 left in the first half and had to be helped off the court. At the time, Cayo was leading the team with nine points and three rebounds, but the Spiders were being outrebounded 25-14. Cayo returned after halftime but was clearly favoring the ankle and far less effective.
The Spiders improved to 3-1 against schools from Power Five conferences, having also beaten Vanderbilt and Wisconsin and lost to No. 18 Auburn.
The Eagles return home to face Northwestern in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Tuesday night.
The Spiders go on the road to play at Hampton on Tuesday night.