For only the second time since upsetting the defending national champions, Robert Morris men’s basketball will take the same floor as the Kentucky Wildcats this Friday.
The No. 8 seed Colonials took down the top-seeded Wildcats 59-57 on March 19, 2013, in the 2013 NIT Tournament. The game was played inside RMU’s old Charles L. Sewall Center, earning the victory and national praise against a depleted Kentucky roster.
The two squads faced off the following season at Rupp Arena during the 2013-14 campaign, with Kentucky blowing out Robert Morris 87-49 on November 17 in the team’s last matchup eight years ago.
Head coach Andy Toole guided RMU to a 24-11 season in his third year marked by the Kentucky victory. Toole knows the importance of the game in program history and throughout the basketball community.
“That game obviously resonates a lot with some of our alums and supporters,” Toole said. “It’s one of the ways I think people identify with our university and our basketball program is that game.”
Now in his 12th season as the Colonials head coach, Toole admits the changes that have transpired since and the amount of time passed since the monumental upset.
“I feel like some of the guys on our team weren’t even born when that game was played,” Toole said. “It feels like it was getting to be distant from us.”
Robert Morris lost its first game this season to UCF 69-59 Wednesday night and only return three impact players from last year’s Horizon League debut, gearing up for the program’s second schedule after transitioning from the NEC in 2020.
Kahliel Spear, Enoch Cheeks, and Rasheem Dunn all scored in double figures against USF, and will be critical players on both ends of the floor for the Colonials to pull off another stunning performance. Justin Winston (St. Bonaventure) is another intriguing player to keep an eye on as one of nine newcomers to RMU’s roster.
Kentucky, ranked No. 10 in the country, lost on opening night to Duke 79-71 in the Champions Classic in a battle between two top-10 teams. John Calipari’s group is more experienced than past teams, with only three true freshmen led by top-20 prospect Tyty Washington Jr.
Robert Morris and Kentucky begin the Kentucky Classic with tip-off at 7 p.m., airing on the SEC Network.