University of Richmond basketball coach Chris Mooney won his 300th Division I game last Wednesday when the Spiders beat Rhode Island. That was victory No. 282 at UR for Mooney, who directed Air Force to an 18-12 record in his lone season as Falcons coach (2004-05).
Under Mooney (301-237), Richmond has many high-quality victories, and some bamboozling defeats. It’s time for reflection. Here’s the totally subjective breakdown of UR’s top five regular-season wins under Mooney, and bottom five regular-season defeats. Why just regular season? Postseason wins — league title-winning, NIT and NCAA games — would otherwise dominate the “best of” category.
“Bad” losses in this rating scale can only occur when Richmond was at least fairly competitive. For instance, Mooney’s 2006-07 Spiders went 8-22, and are therefore exempt from “bad” losses.
Top five regular-season wins
Nov. 29, 2020 — UR 76, No. 10 Kentucky 64. Are the green Wildcats down? Affirmative. Were they a mess against the Spiders? Oh, yeah. But UK was ranked No. 10, and Richmond commanded one of the college game’s elite programs on its home floor in famed Rupp Arena under all those national championship banners. The Spiders, with four senior starters, didn’t even play that well.
Nov. 27, 2010 – UR 65, No. 10 Purdue 54. In the championship game of the Chicago Invitational, the Spiders handled a top-10 opponent behind guard Kevin Anderson (21 of his 28 points in the second half) and used the confidence gained to proceed to the Sweet 16.
Jan. 31, 2015 — UR 64, No. 14 VCU 55. The Spiders had dropped eight straight at VCU, lost to Old Dominion, James Madison and Northeastern earlier in the season, and trailed the Rams 28-17 after 18 minutes at the Siegel Center in a black-out game televised by ESPN2. UR beat a VCU NCAA tournament team that at the time was 17-3 (7-0 A-10) and carried a 12-game winning streak. VCU had won 29 of its previous 30 home games.
Dec. 19, 2009 — UR 56, No. 13 Florida 53. Richmond was down 13 with about a minute left in the first half in Sunrise, Fla., and then flipped the Gators behind guard David Gonzalvez. It was UR’s fourth game against Power Five competition in about three weeks. Richmond also beat Mississippi State and Missouri on back-to-back days in a tournament, and lost at South Carolina.
Nov. 25, 2019 — UR 62, Wisconsin 52. The Spiders at home squeezed by Saint Francis in OT to start the season, and nobody knew how good they were after back-to-back 20-loss years. This W in the Legends Classic in New York over Wisconsin, which finished 21-10 and won the Big Ten (14-6), got the ball rolling as Richmond went 24-7 (14-4 A-10).
Worst five regular-season losses
Dec. 9, 2018 — Longwood 63, UR 58. The Spiders had seven newcomers, shot 38% and missed 10 of 16 free throws in this season opener at home. Still, they were up by 8 with 11:57 left, and skidded down the stretch in Griff Aldrich’s first game as Lancers coach. Longwood was 0-4 against UR (since 2006), with all losses by double digits.
Nov. 25, 2018 — Hampton 86, UR 66. At the Robins Center, Richmond was without Jacob Gilyard (groin strain) and Nick Sherod suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first half. UR never led. HU guards Jermaine Marrow and Kalin Fisher combined for 65 points.
Dec. 23, 2016 — Oral Roberts 87, UR 72. This was a Richmond team that went 13-5 in the A-10, 22-13 overall, and won two games in the NIT. But in a get-away game before Christmas break at ORU, the Spiders fell to an opponent that went 8-22, and three of the wins were over Rogers State, John Brown, and Southeastern Oklahoma.
Nov. 10, 2017 — Delaware 76, UR 63. The Spiders went .500 in the A-10 this season, but started the year by watching the Blue Hens lead 45-12 after 17 minutes at the Robins Center. Delaware shot 75% in the first half.
Dec. 7, 2014 — JMU 51, UR 46. At home, the Dukes made one 3-pointer (13 attempts), missed half of their 12 free throws, and finished shooting 38.6%. Still, they beat a Richmond team that went 21-14 (12-6 A-10) and reached the NIT quarterfinals.