RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - VCU coach Shaka Smart warned his team all week. He should have warned them again in the closing minutes.
"Coach has been telling us all week, `Don't get comfortable with success,"' point guard Darius Theus said after the No. 19 Rams' 86-74 loss at Richmond in overtime on Thursday night, a game they seemed to have in the bag with under a minute to play.
"We got slapped in the face tonight," Theus said.
Kendall Anthony scored 21 of his 26 points after halftime and Darien Brothers hit two huge 3-pointers as Richmond ended the Rams' 13-game winning streak. Richmond trailed by seven with 40 seconds to play, rallied to tie it on Brothers' 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left and rolled in the OT.
"I felt like we had it," Theus said. "We just let a few plays slip up. We just had a few defensive mishaps and they made a lot of plays. Their guys stepped up. We just have to finish the game."
During their winning streak, the Rams had won by an average of 21.8 points. But when the Spiders made their run, Smart said the die was almost cast.
"It's very, very tough for teams to respond after what happened to us in regulation, and we did not respond well enough," he said.
Brothers had 18 points and Cedrick Lindsay 13 as the Spiders (13-7, 3-2 Atlantic 10) won for only the second time in their last nine meetings with the Rams. Richmond hit 12 3-pointers with Anthony making five and Brothers four, including another big one with 1:35 left in overtime that all but clinched it.
Juvonte Reddic had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Treveon Graham had 15 points, all after halftime, and 10 rebounds for VCU (16-4, 4-1), which never got its ball-hawking havoc defense unleashed against the steady Spiders. Both teams finished with 13 turnovers and scored 17 off their takeaways.
VCU used a 19-4 burst to take a 63-56 lead with 42 seconds left, but Richmond wasn't finished.
When Lindsay hit a pair of free throws for the Spiders with 37.7 seconds left, it was their first points in the final six minutes. He scored again after two free throws by Reddic, and when Graham made only 1 of 2 free throws with 26.9 seconds left for the Rams, the Spiders had hope - and a sold out Robins Center crowd exhorting them on.
It grew when Anthony was fouled on a 3-point try with 21 seconds left, and he made all three shots. Troy Daniels made only 1 of 2 free throws for the Rams, and Anthony splashed a deep 3-pointer with 13.6 seconds left, pulling Richmond to 67-66. Two free throws by Daniels made it 69-66, and the Spiders looked for Anthony at the other end until Brothers came off a screen, took a pass and swished in a 25-footer.
In the overtime, Brothers scored in the lane, and Anthony followed with a driving layup.
A 3-pointer by Graham pulled VCU within one, but Lindsay's 3-poiunt play and Anthony's 3-pointer gave the Spiders a 79-72 lead with 2:40 to play, and the Rams never came close to their own comeback. Brothers' final 3 made sure of that.
The Rams trailed 52-44 with 11 minutes to play before Rob Brandenburg hit a 3-pointer and then scored on a drive. A free throw by Reddic and Brandenburg's basket inside tied it with 8:38 remaining.
Baskets by Trey Davis for the Spiders and Reddic again tied it at 54. After Lindsay's drive gave Richmond the lead again, Graham hit a free throw, followed a Richmond turnover with a putback and then added two free throws, giving the Rams their biggest lead of the night at 59-56.
With the Spiders unable to do anything on offense, two free throws by Darius Theus and another putback by Reddic gave the Rams a 63-56 lead with 42 seconds to play, capping a 19-4 burst.
Then Richmond rallied to tie it, and put it away in the extra period.
The first half was played at Richmond's pace and they led 32-29 at the break, but VCU's started to cause some havoc early in the second. They pulled even for the first time in the opening 90 seconds, and two free throws by Graham capped a 10-2 run with 14:02 to go and gave the Rams their first lead, 42-40.
The game featured two of the best 3-point shooters in the country in Brothers and Daniels, and the two best 3-point shooting teams in the conference, but the long ball wasn't nearly as much a factor in the first half as expected because both teams played tough perimeter defense.
Graham was scoreless in the first half and had two fouls. Reddic scored seven quick points and seemed poised for a big game with Spiders big man Derrick Williams sidelined by an ankle sprain, but Reddic had three fouls in just 11 minutes.
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