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Richmond fades, falls 67-58 at No. 12 Florida

January 4, 2014

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Richmond coach Chris Mooney didn’t like the outcome. But he loved the effort.

And when the NCAA tournament rolls around, the Spiders just might be better equipped to win a game like this.

Cedrick Lindsay scored 19 points, Kendall Anthony added 15 and Richmond faded down the stretch in a 67-58 loss at No. 12 Florida on Saturday.

The Spiders (10-5) were in position for a huge road win, leading 46-42 with 7:50 to play, but Florida made more clutch shots down the stretch. Michael Frazier II’s third 3-pointer of the second half started the comeback, and seniors Scottie Wilbekin, Casey Prather and Pat Young took it from there.

“We came into the game with a lot of heart,” Mooney said. “We were tough. There were some things we could have done better, but as far as our effort, confidence and toughness, that cannot be questioned.”

Frazier scored 18 points to lead the Gators, who won their 23rd consecutive home game.

After Frazier drained another shot from behind the arc, Wilbekin, Prather and Young took over.

Wilbekin hit a nifty baseline floater, Prather followed with his first of two spinning layups and then Florida (11-2) went ahead for good on Young’s three-point play. Dorian Finney-Smith’s 3-pointer gave the Gators some cushion down the stretch, and they closed it out from the free throw line — barely.

“There were some moments that were pretty good,” said Florida coach Billy Donovan, who took blame for his team’s lackluster effort early.

Florida missed six of eight free throws in the final minute.

But the Spiders were unable to make those mistakes hurt.

Richmond lost for the first time in regulation since Nov. 23. The team’s last two losses — to Wake Forest and Ohio — came in overtime.

“If we were a bunch of seniors, I’d say this might be where we are as a team,” Mooney said. “But we have four sophomores who are working really hard to get better, so we have improvement in our future.”

Lindsay and Anthony give Richmond a solid and experienced backcourt. And if the sophomore forwards find their way, the Spiders could be a dangerous bunch in the NCAA tournament.

“I’m watching this guy (Lindsay) at 6-1 shooting runners and floaters over Patric Young — not just against us; against everybody — and we get in there and we can’t make a 2-foot shot,” Donovan said. “I thought that was the difference.”

The Gators need one more home win — they open Southeastern Conference play against South Carolina on Wednesday night — to match the school record of 24 straight set between 2006 and 2007.

The latest victory was in doubt midway through the second half.

Richmond made six 3s in the second half, including five by Lindsay. Lindsay answered consecutive 3s by Frazier with 12-plus minutes remaining with a shot from the wing. He drained another one that put the Spiders up 41-38. Richmond was up 46-42 with 8:34 remaining, but Frazier’s third 3 sparked the comeback.

“To start the game off, we were flat and we didn’t have a lot of energy,” Frazier said. “But as the game went on, I think we did a good job of picking it up.”

Richmond fouled repeatedly in the closing minutes, but couldn’t take advantage of Florida’s misses.

Florida shot 44 percent from the field despite going 5 of 19 from behind the arc and really handled Richmond inside. The Gators outrebounded the Spiders 44-22 and outscored them 38-20 in the paint.

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