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NIT Bracket 2017: Richmond’s season ends with quarterfinal loss at TCU

T.J. Cline and ShawnDre’ Jones finish exceptional careers.

NCAA Basketball: Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament - Richmond vs VCU Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Richmond’s season came to an end Wednesday night with an 86-68 loss at TCU in the NIT quarterfinals.

The Spiders fell into an early hole, allowing a 16-2 TCU run midway through the first half. They also struggled with the Horned Frogs’ size all night, grabbing just four offensive rebounds and allowing 20 points on 10 shots to TCU forward Vladimir Brodziansky.

The loss ended the careers of two great Richmond players.

A-10 Player of the Year T.J. Cline had one last signature performance (33 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists), and capped off one of the most impressive individual seasons in program history. His 648 total points were the eighth-best single season mark in Richmond history, while his 197 total assists were the second-best single season mark. He also recorded two triple-doubles.

For a player that came into the season with high expectations, Cline clearly did his part to lift the Spiders to a surprisingly solid campaign. Richmond, which was picked to finish sixth in the A-10 preseason poll, flirted with first place throughout the year before finishing fourth.

Cline shouldn’t overshadow fellow senior ShawnDre’ Jones.

The guard came to Richmond as a Rivals and Scout two-star prospect, but quickly planted his flag within the program. He became a rotation regular midway through his freshman year in 2013-14. He averaged 35.4 minutes and 15.9 points per game over his final two seasons, and shot 39.6 percent from three. This culminated in an all-league third team spot this season.

Richmond finishes with a 23-12 record, and got 13 league wins, its most since 2010-11. This should, at least temporarily, remove any heat that may have been on Chris Mooney. The soon-to-be 13-year head coach will rely on a sturdy back court of sophomore Khawn Fore, and freshmen De’Monte Buckingham and Nick Sherod next season.

This was the program’s third time advancing to the NIT quarterfinals in its ninth tournament appearance. The Spiders have yet to reach the semifinals, losing to Syracuse in 2002 and Miami in 2015.

Ole Miss fell to Georgia Tech 74-66 in Tuesday’s second quarterfinal as the Yellow Jackets joined TCU in punching a ticket to New York. CSU Bakersfield plays at UT-Arlington, while UCF travels to Illinois Wednesday to decide the final two spots.

The full NIT bracket can be viewed here.