Spiders upset Kentucky on their way to No. 19 AP ranking

November 30, 2020

Spider Pride

Last weekend, the University of Richmond men’s basketball team entered the national spotlight after beating No. 10 Kentucky at Rupp Arena. On the heels of that victory, the Spiders climbed up the Associated Press Top 25 poll and claimed the No. 19 ranking, the highest since the 1957-58 season.

This week’s AP poll marks the first time Richmond has been ranked inside the Top 25 since 2010 when the Spiders were ranked No. 24, released prior to UR's participation in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

"This was a tremendous win for us,” Head Coach Chris Mooney said. “I feel like the whole game we were very good defensively. We didn't have a good rhythm in the first half, which is unusual for us. We were able to find a much better rhythm in the second half and with that comes the ability to make shots. When we made shots, we were able to pull away."

To open their season, the Spiders defeated Morehead State, 82-64, before securing their first-ever road win against an AP top-10 opponent — a victory that paved the way to a Bluegrass Showcase championship.

Richmond was led by senior Nathan Cayo who totaled 23 points against Morehead State and 18 against Kentucky, on his way to being named Co-Atlantic 10 Player of the Week and the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Senior Jacob Gilyard posted five steals against UK, one of which became the No. 1 play on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” and teammate Grant Golden was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Richmond also made significant jumps in the rankings of several national college basketball writers. The Spiders moved to No. 16 in Jeff Goodman's (Stadium) Top 25 rankings, the same spot they occupied in the power rankings of ESPN's Jeff Borzello. Andy Katz of NCAA.com had the Spiders vaulting all the way up to No. 9 in his Power 36 rankings, noting that "the A-10 favorites are going to be a threat throughout the season."