The University of Richmond has become the fourth school in Atlantic-10 history to have two A-10 players of the week in the first two weeks of the season.
Jacob Gilyard, a junior guard, was named this week’s co-player of the week along with VCU’s Marcus Santos-Silva. This was Gilyard’s second A-10 weekly honor of his career. Last week, redshirt junior guard Nick Sherod received the honor.
In the recent games against Vanderbilt University and California State University, Northridge, Gilyard averaged 22.0 points, 5.5 assists and 4.0 steals, while shooting from the field at a high rate of 65%.
Gilyard’s game-winning play against Vanderbilt last Thursday came with about four seconds left on the clock. With that time remaining, Gilyard stole the ball and passed it to his teammate, sophomore Andre Gustavson, who was fouled on a dunk attempt in the last 0.6 seconds and sealed the victory with a game-winning free throw.
Gilyard’s seven steals throughout the Vanderbilt game comes close to the Spiders’ record for most steals during a game.
“Within the program, I think we’ve been positive and that we’re realistic about how hard we’re working and the guys that we have,” said UR Head Coach Chris Mooney in a press conference on Wednesday.
“If we can continue to make the right play and be aggressive with the guys that we have, I think we will continue to be a great offensive team,” Mooney said.
Nathan Cayo, a junior forward who also spoke during the conference, echoed this sentiment.
“We’re just attacking practice,” he said. “It feels good when you’re winning. I mean, even if we lost those games, it wouldn’t be any different. But it’s good for us. We’re confident.”
The Spiders’ win in its game against McNeese State University on Friday marks the first time the team has won its first four games of the season since the 1985-1986 season -- positioning the team in a much better place than this time last year, when the team had won only two out of three of the first games of the season and lost in the next two.
“It’s definitely a big difference,” Gilyard said during the press conference. “We don’t focus too much on the past. But we know how bad we’ve been the past two years, and I think it’s kind of good to have a 3-0 start so far.”
Gilyard has scored an average of 22.7 points per game, which makes him the 19th-ranked player in Division I scoring. His averages of 4.3 steals and 6.3 assists per game also rank him among the national DI leaders.
“It’s a long season -- we still got 25 more games,” Gilyard said. “Anything could happen. So, to be 3-0, we’re kind of happy, but we’re not pleased. We’re not satisfied yet.”
Contact contributor Jada Frazier at firstname.lastname@example.org.