Richmond rallies to win opening game of NIT 76-66

DENTON, Texas (AP) — Jacob Gilyard and Tyler Burton scored 18 points each and Richmond overcame the absence of their top two scorers to beat Toledo 76-66 in the opening game of the NIT Tournament on Wednesday.

A basket by Matt Grace — making his first start in his 82nd career game at Richmond — with under 12 minutes left gave the Spiders their first lead since 2-0. After 10 lead changes over 5 1/2 minutes, Nathan Cayo scored seven points in a 9-0 run that left Richmond ahead 66-58. A 3-pointer by Jacob Gilyard made it 71-62 with 1:35 to go.

The two-seed Spiders (14-8) were without Blake Francis (16.1 ppg), who hurt his back in their regular-season finale, and Grant Golden (12.7), who has been limited by a finger he broke in a Feb. 23 game.

Burton grabbed 10 rebounds in picking up his third double-double this season. Gilyard had four assists to become the program’s career leader with 577, passing Greg Beckwith (1982-86, 573). Cayo added 15 points and Souleymane Koureissi 10.

Ryan Rollins scored 18 points, but 16 came in the first half when three-seed Toledo (21-9) took a 38-32 lead. Setric Millner Jr. added 13 points and Spencer Littleson 11. Mid-American Conference player of the year Marreon Jackson scored 10 points. Toledo shot only 28% in the second half, including 1 of 14 from the arc.

Richmond will play the winner of Saturday’s game between Saint Louis and Mississippi State in a quarterfinal on March 25.

The tournament, limited to 16 teams instead of 32 this season, is taking place in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area at the University of North Texas Coliseum in Denton and at the Comerica Center in Frisco.


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