Sunday, December 6, 2015

Richmond tops Butler in rematch




In Richmond's second highly entertaining and hotly contested game in its home gym this week, the Musketeers prevailed 73-72 over Butler Friday after Chris Jones made a floater to break a 69 all tie and DT Stephens followed with a driving layup to put the home team ahead by 4. Jones led Richmond with 20 points. Moses Williams added 13.

The game was as close as any game can be. Butler held the biggest lead of the night, a 17-10 first quarter advantage. But senior Illinois State signee Madison Williams, who hasn't played since opening night, scored and Jones followed with one of his 3 three pointers to cut the Bulldogs advantage to two.

Neither team led by more than 5 after that. Jzwa Collier, who led all scorers with 21 points, made shots to end the second and third quarters, and opened the fourth with a three pointer to to give Butler a 3 point advantage before teammate Kyler Haynes forced through a one handed dunk that gave Butler a 60-55 edge.

Jones would make 2 threes down the stretch, the second on an assist from Stephens, who scored all 6 of his points during the deciding quarter, to give Richmond its lead back at 65-64.

Williams made a pair of plays using a screen to give the Musketeers breathing room down the stretch. First he buried an 18 footer when his defender went under the screen. Next he hit Rashard Green, who finished his roll to the basket to put the Musketeers ahead 69-66.

Collier tied the game at 69 before Jones and Stephens finished the job with their game deciding scores.

The game ended controversially as Butler's players and coaches left the court during a dead ball while trailing 73-72 with 20 seconds remaining.

Such a strange finish was surely the talk of the gym after Friday's showdown between two of the city's top teams. Watching on tape delay, my most vivid memories are those of the fantastic play by the teams' gritty competitors.

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