RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - We may never know just how good the 2019-2020 Richmond Spiders could have been. With five juniors, all with major minutes in the past, Chris Mooney's club was the best it's been since the 2011 Sweet 16 run.
The disappointment of a season that ended prematurely got some positive news on Wednesday, when Richmond received six votes in the final AP Top 25 poll. It marks the Spiders' best showing in that particular poll in nine years.
Richmond was 24-7 when the campaign came to an end, 14-4 in the Atlantic 10, good enough for second in the conference. UR amassed the 24 victories after winning 25 games in the last two seasons combined. The 14 A-10 wins mark a program record.
Mooney's squad finished the season second in the conference in scoring (75.3 ppg), shooting percentage (46.6), assist/turnover ratio (1.42) and led the league in free throw shooting (77.6 percent). Jacob Gilyard was the national leader in total steals and steals per game.
If there is a silver lining, it’s that the Spiders are currently expected to have all 14 players on their roster back for next season. That includes all five starts, such as Gilyard, who was A-10 Defensive Player of the Year to go along with an all-conference First Team honor, and Grant Golden and Blake Francis, who earned spots on the All A-10 Second Team. Nick Sherod and Nathan Cayo also are set to return for hopeful big senior years. The group should be among the favorites to win the conference in 2020-2021.
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