It was disappointing because it was such a winnable game.
Coming off an impressive win over Saint Louis in the Reilly Center last week, the St. Bonaventure men's basketball team looked poised to start the Atlantic 10 season 2-0 for the first time in seven years.
While they played well for stretches, the Bonnies failed to do enough little things to win, falling to Richmond, 71-66, in front of 3,103 at the RC.
Richmond (5-10, 1-1 A-10) snapped a seven-game losing streak while the Bonnies fell to 4-11 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
"We had our share of opportunities. Richmond made the plays when they needed to," Bona coach Anthony Solomon said. "It just didn't happen for us tonight. We've shown that we can play better basketball for longer stretches. The next step is to find ways to consistently win those and to execute."
The consistency Solomon is calling for lies particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Richmond shot 52 percent in the second half and was able to wind the clock down with long, patient possessions.
"Down the stretch we were really able to run our offense and not turn the ball over," Richmond coach Chris Mooney said. "Whether or not your shots go in is not as important as running the offense and I also think we rebounded well on defense."
The largest margin of the night came with 1:51 left when the Spiders took a 65-58 lead on a wild play.
Oumar Sylla had his shot blocked by A.J. Hawkins, gathered it back and passed it behind him to Dave Gonzalvez. Gonzalvez then threw up a deep three-pointer with two defenders in his face as the shot clock expired. It swished.
Still, the Bonnies kept themselves in the game by getting the ball into Michael Lee, who promptly converted a traditional three-point play.
Bona cut the lead to 65-63 with 1:08 to play when Hawkins hit the front end of a two-shot foul.
Dan Geriot hit a floater in the lane to give Richmond a 67-63 lead with 35 seconds left to play but Zarryon Fereti hit an off-balance three with 28 seconds left to bring the Bonnies within one, 67-66.
The defense failed to get a steal or a 10-second call, so Bona fouled Sylla, who hit both free throws to extend Richmond's lead to 69-66 with 17.2 seconds left to play.
The Bonnies looked to spread the offense on their final possession with some quick passes and shot fakes but the three-point attempt by Tyler Relph caught iron with one second left.
Bona fouled on the rebound and Brian Morris hit two free throws for the final difference.
To their credit, Bona had a balanced offensive attack with four players finishing in double figures, led by Fereti's 14 points while Hawkins added 10 points with 10 rebounds.
Paul Williams added 11 points and Lee 10.
"We've been successful when we share the ball," Fereti said. "We have a lot of guys who can score on the team. At the start of the season, we were feeling each other out and getting to know each others' talents. We realize that you can't do it with just one person. It takes five."
The last time the Bonnies started A-10 play 2-0 was back in 1999-2000 when they began 4-0 and went on to the NCAA Tournament.
Bona has not won back-to-back games since beating Alcorn State and Central Arkansas in November.
The Bonnies play their next two games on the road, traveling to George Washington on Saturday and Rhode Island on Jan. 17. They return home to face La Salle on Jan. 21.