For the second straight season, the Kentucky Wildcats suffered a loss to an unranked opponent at home early in the campaign. This time, it was the local Richmond Spiders who pulled off the upset in one of the great wins in program history.
Defeating the No. 10 team in the country 76-64 at Rupp Arena on Sunday, Richmond stunned a blue blood program in Kentucky and improved to 2-0.
The Spiders were paced by strong performances from senior forward Nathan Cayo and senior guard Blake Francis. Both dropped 18 points. It was a dominant second half that changed the direction of the game, as Richmond outscored Kentucky 48-32 in the final 20 minutes of play to erase a four-point deficit at halftime.
Though the victory was a major upset, Richmond entered the season as a mid-major program with plenty of potential after going 24-7 in 2019-20 and 14-4 in the Atlantic 10 Conference before the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to play. If the NCAA Tournament had happened, the Spiders would have been involved.
Now as the new season gets underway, it appears Richmond is picking up right where it left off and then some making national waves by taking down Coach John Calipari and company on the road.
The Spiders, of course, are no stranger to wins over blueblood programs. They were THE original No. 15 seed with the famous 1991 NCAA Tournament win over No. 2 seed Syracuse at legendary Cole Field House in College Park. No program had ever done that in the expanded 64-team NCAA Tournament.
Richmond went to the Sweet 16 in 1988 by beating defending champion Indiana and then Georgia Tech and did so again as recently as 2011. They beat Kansas at Allen Field House in 2004. They ended Charles Barkley's college career at Auburn in the 1984 NCAA Tournament. Richmond also beat No. 6 Georgia Tech in 1986 during the regular season.