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Richmond downs Morehead State, creeps into Sweet 16

Mar 20, 2011 - 1:20 AM Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Justin Harper finished with 19 points, leading Richmond past Morehead State, 65-48, and into the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1988.

Kevin Anderson added 14 points for the Spiders (29-7), who are seeded 12th in the Southwest Region. They will take on either top-seeded Kansas or No. 9 seed Illinois next weekend.

Dan Geriot scored 13 points for Richmond, which shut down Morehead State hero Demonte Harper.

He hit the late three-pointer that lifted the 13th-seeded Eagles over No. 4 seed Louisville on Thursday. But Saturday, he made only 2-of-15 shots and finished with four points.

Kenneth Faried had 11 points and 13 boards for Morehead State (25-10), which shot only 38 percent against Richmond's defense. Eagles head coach Donnie Tyndall said it was at times a matchup zone, and at times a "kind of a sagging man-to-man" defense, making it hard to run a set offense.

"We really couldn't figure out what type of defense it was," Tyndall said. "Sometimes they would go with guys, sometimes they wouldn't."

The Spiders have employed their staunch defense during their current nine-game win streak, holding opponents to fewer than 60 points in seven of those contests.

One exception was a 69-66 decision over Vanderbilt in their opening tourney game, which Richmond won in a close finish. But Saturday's game never got to that point after the Spiders pulled away down the stretch.

They had started the game on a 14-4 run that lasted more than nine minutes, thanks to seven points from Justin Harper.

Morehead State countered with seven consecutive points to stay close, and while the Eagles couldn't pull even, they scored enough to prevent Richmond from establishing an insurmountable difference.

They faced a 30-21 deficit at the break, and pulled within 51-43 with about seven minutes to play, after back-to-back dunks from Faried and Sam Goodman.

But Morehead State netted just two more baskets, and Richmond took full control. Justin Harper followed Goodman's dunk with a layup, and after a series of misses by both teams, Geriot drilled a three for a 56-43 lead.

The Spiders then made 7-of-8 free throws in the final two minutes to secure the victory and continue their tourney run after last year's disappointment.

Richmond was seeded seventh in the 2010 NCAA tourney, but lost its first game after running into a hot Saint Mary's team that advanced to the Sweet 16. And for the first time in 23 years, the Spiders are back in that same position.

"This is the NCAA Tournament," said Richmond head coach Chris Mooney. "This is what it's all about. Hopefully we can enjoy this for a little bit before we get ready for the next one."

Game Notes

Faried needed two points to reach 2,000 for his career...Demonte Harper pulled down 11 rebounds for Morehead State...Richmond shot 47 percent and committed only six turnovers.