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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Devin Thomas had been frustrated by Richmond's double-teaming all game.
But Wake Forest's scoring leader got the last word on Sunday, tipping in a shot by Codi Miller-McIntyre as the buzzer sounded and allowing the Demon Deacons to survive a frenetic comeback and beat the Spiders 65-63.
"It was just a reaction play and luckily I got it off in time," Thomas said of the winning play, on which he had no time to do anything by redirect a shot that came up well short of the basket. The basket ended an afternoon in which Thomas made two early baskets, but had made just 1 of his last 9 before seeing the winner swish through.
"Luckily I got that last basket at the end, the most important one," he said.
The Demon Deacons (7-6) were outscored 27-14 over a long stretch of the second half and trailed 61-57 with about 40 seconds to play. Dinos Mitoglou made a 3-pointer with 32 seconds left and then, after Terry Allen's breakaway dunk for Richmond, Miller-McIntyre banked in a falling 3-pointer with 20 seconds left, pulling Wake Forest even at 63.
ShawnDre' Jones' driving layup try fell off for Richmond with about five seconds left, and Miller-McIntyre rushed down court and lofted his desperate shot toward the basket.
"I didn't want to call a timeout because their defense had been pretty stifling in the half court and I just wanted Codi to attack," first-year Demon Deacons coach Danny Manning said. "Devin made a great reaction."
While the Demon Deacons erupted in celebration, the Spiders waited for officials to confirm that the basket counted. It did, and the Spiders (7-5) four-game winning streak was over.
Miller-McIntyre led Wake Forest with 17 points, Dinos Mitoglou had 11 and Greg McClinton had 10.
T.J. Cline led Richmond with a career-best 22 points and Kendall Anthony had 21, including 11 in the final 6:47, but the Spiders missed all but two of their 19 3-point tries.
"It's just hard," Anthony said of the finish. "It's hard when you feel you did things to win and it's gone after a tip."
Richmond trailed almost throughout, but used a 15-3 run in the second half to take a 49-46 lead, its first since the opening minutes. Anthony finished the burst with a driving layup and was fouled, whipping the crowd at the Robins Center into a frenzy, but McClinton and Miller-McIntyre responded quickly.
McClinton scored inside, and after another driving basket by Anthony, Miller-McIntyre hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key, then followed a Richmond miss by feeding McClinton for an easy basket.
Anthony tied it with a 12-foot jumper, and Miller-McIntyre scored on a drive to give the Demon Deacons the lead again at 55-53. An 8-2 run by the Spiders, including four points by Anthony, gave them a 61-57 lead before the wild finish.
"These kind of losses sting, and they sting everybody," Spiders coach Chris Mooney said.
The Demon Deacons had runs of 11-2, 9-2 and 8-2 in the first half, the last one to close to half. Cornelius Hudson started it with a 3-pointer and Darius Leonard ended up with another.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons lead the series 40-12, but had lost three of the last four to the Spiders.
Richmond: The Spiders, shooting 69.1 percent from the free throw line, were 0 for 6 in the first half, including an airball by Trey Davis. They made all seven of their attempts from the line in the second half.
Devin Thomas grabbed 13 rebounds, six on the offensive end. Richmond's Deion Taylor grabbed 10, but only one in the second half. It came with 2:22 left, on the offensive end, and he laid the ball back in to give the Spiders a 57-55 lead.
Wake Forest hosts Princeton on New Year's Eve.
Richmond hosts Northeastern on New Year's Eve.
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