Morgantown, West Virginia – When the Richmond Spiders invade the WVU Coliseum today, they are senior-laden, undefeated, very dangerous opponent for the Mountaineers.
Coming off a 24-7 overall record and 14-4 record last season in the Atlantic 10 Conference, Richmond has been spectacular through their first four games this year. Richmond has defeated Morehead State (82-64), Kentucky (76-64), Wofford (77-72) and Northern Iowa (78-68).
The Spiders’ most dangerous player is Grant Golden, a 6’10 senior forward, who is undeniably the team’s leader and is currently averaging 15.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while shooting 55.3% from the field. While Golden doesn’t have incredible athleticism, he has averaged double-digits all four years at Richmond and just knows how to get it done for the Spiders.
Joining Golden in the front court is 6’7 senior forward Nathan Cayo, who is shooting 70.6% from the field this season while averaging 14.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. The Montreal native is a slasher and is difficult to stop in the lane. West Virginia’s interior defense has been poor this season and will really need to focus on not allowing Cayo in the lane.
Senior guard Blake Francis is the Spiders’ leader in the backcourt, averaging 13.8 points, 2.3 assists and 2.0 rebounds per game, but is only shooting 36.4% from the field. Jacob Gilyard, a 5’9 senior point guard, is the team’s play-maker, averaging 12.3 points and 7.0 assists per game.
Rounding out the starting five for the Spiders is outstanding sophomore forward Tyler Burton, who averages 12.8 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.
The entire starting lineup is capable of scoring and they play really well together. Although Richmond lacks the overall size and depth of the Mountaineers, this is a team that can make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament this season and that can beat any opponent in the nation on any given day.
West Virginia will need to focus on getting easy looks down low and getting Grant Golden in early foul trouble. If the Mountaineers continue to settle for outside shots and don’t play strong interior defense, it’ll be a long day for West Virginia.