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Vanderbilt falls to Richmond in overtime, 93-92

What a game.

NCAA Basketball: Vanderbilt at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It took two minutes and thirty-three seconds for Clevon Brown to score the first points of the game between the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Richmond Spiders. A Maxwell Evans three-pointer with 15:52 left gave Vanderbilt a 7-0 lead, but the Spiders would come back into the game and take a 36-29 lead into halftime.

Coming out of the break, Aaron Nesmith immediately caught fire. Nesmith hit four three-pointers in a row to open the second half, and Dylan Disu added a fifth with 17:07 left to give Vanderbilt a 44-40 lead. The teams see-sawed back and forth for the next few minutes, and with Richmond leading 59-57, Clevon Brown tied the game with a stick-back dunk. Then, after Brown missed a pair of free throws, Vanderbilt grabbed an offensive rebound to set up another three by Disu as part of a 9-0 Vanderbilt run to grab a 66-59 lead with 7:49 left.

But then the old Vanderbilt showed up. Vanderbilt suddenly couldn’t stop turning the ball over, and Richmond went on a 12-0 run to take a 71-66 lead keyed by a pair of three-pointers from Richmond’s Jacob Gilyard. Saben Lee sank a pair of free throws to stop the bleeding, but Richmond responded with a three from Blake Francis, matched by another Disu three.

On the ensuing possession, though, Vanderbilt couldn’t get a rebound: Richmond rebounded two of its own misses leading to a Nick Sherod layup to extend the lead to five. After a Saben Lee miss, Gilyard scored again to extend Richmond’s lead to seven. Aaron Nesmith responded with a three — but then Vanderbilt unaccountably left Nathan Cayo alone on the low block and sent him to the foul line. Cayo sank both foul shots to give the Spiders an 80-74 lead.

And then Saben Lee brought Vanderbilt back. Lee made a three, and then Vanderbilt’s defense forced Blake Francis into a bad turnover — followed by another three from Lee to tie the game at 80 with 1:13 left. After Gilyard missed a layup, though, a heat-check three by Lee wound up being an airball. A Nick Sherod miss gave Vanderbilt a chance to win in regulation, but Lee missed a three and Dylan Disu’s desperation heave from near half-court came up short.

In the extra period, Vanderbilt forced a turnover on Richmond’s first possession and immediately attacked the basket, resulting in two free throws for Disu off a Saben Lee miss. After another turnover, Scotty Pippen Jr. banked one in to extend the Commodore lead to 84-80. Richmond missed at the other end, but got new life after a Disu miss was countered with a Blake Francis three to cut it to one.

On the ensuing possession, Saben Lee got to the basket and scored, and a hustle play on a loose ball rebound got Vanderbilt the ball back with a three-point lead. But what could have been a dagger three by Nesmith rimmed out and a Maxwell Evans foul sent Jacob Gilyard to the line for a one-and-one with 1:37 left. Gilyard made both to make the score 86-85. Vanderbilt quickly broke a press and Aaron Nesmith drew contact to get two free throws — but he only made one of two.

That became important when Vanderbilt couldn’t rebound a Francis miss, giving Nick Sherod an open look at the top of the key — which he drained to give Richmond the lead. Saben Lee went to the basket and drew contact, sinking two free throws to get Vanderbilt the lead back. Sherod got it right back with two free throws of his own, only to set up a dagger three from Nesmith to give Vanderbilt a 92-90 lead. Gilyard tied it up with a layup, but Vanderbilt would have the final shot.

Only the Commodores couldn’t get a shot off. Saben Lee drove to the basket, but lost the ball, leading to a Richmond run-out. Andre Gustavson sank a free throw to give Richmond a 93-92 win.

Aaron Nesmith scored a career-high 34 points and Saben Lee tied his career high with 24 in the loss.