ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Some final thoughts as No. 3 Richmond (26-7) beat No. 2 Xavier (24-8) in the second Atlantic-10 semifinal here at Boardwalk Hall. The Spiders advanced to face No. 1 Temple (28-5) in Sunday's conference title game at 1 p.m. ET.
No offense to Temple but I'd take a rematch of this game tomorrow afternoon. Great emotion. Great drama. Great theater.
Kevin Anderson's driving layup with 3.1 seconds left tied the game at 73 and sent it to overtime. Then the Spiders seized the momentum and advanced to Sunday's final. In the extra session Richmond was 4-of-5 from the floor -- including 2-of-2 from 3 -- and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. Conversely Xavier went just 2-for-11 from the field in overtime.
Anderson, the A-10 player of the year, was money in OT. The junior scored eight of his game-high 27 points on 2-of-3 shooting -- including 4-for-4 from the line.
Richmond beat Temple 71-54 on Feb. 6 in Virginia. But the Owls didn't have Juan Fernandez in the lineup and there's no reason to believe Sunday's final won't be a wire job.
Xavier isn't the same team when sophomore guard Terrell Holloway isn't on the floor. When he was in foul trouble his absence was felt. Beyond his ability, it's his attitude and swagger that helps to define the Musketeers. Case in point: Richmond took a 56-55 lead with 8:46 left for the Spiders' first lead in the second half. Next possession Holloway buried a 3 to regain the lead for XU. And remember that Holloway is the one who went to knock the ball out of the hands of Dayton's Rob Lowery after a timeout on Friday night, producing the technical foul that effectively ended the Flyers' season.