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  • Richards comes up big at crunch time for Wildcats

    By LARRY VAUGHT

    Nick Richards has had his ups and downs this year at Kentucky.

    The freshman center has shown some flashes of brilliance. Other times like Tuesday’s win over Mississippi State he played only 11 minutes.

    At West Virginia Saturday night he played well when it counted most to help UK upset No. 7 West Virginia 83-76. He had nine points, eight rebounds and one block in 20 minutes. He was 2-for-4 from the field and 5-for-6 at the foul line.

    With P.J. Washington out with a knee contusion, coach John Calipari stuck with Richards most of the second half. He helped UK hold together in the final minutes to get its biggest win of the season.

    "That's what the game came down to at the end, whoever was the toughest team ended up with the win. We fought for offensive rebounds, second-chance points in the second half, guys weren't making the same mistakes that we did in the first half. Basically, it came down to we got the W just because of second-chance points,” Richards said.

    Calipari even ran plays for Richards at crunch time, and the freshman had a huge follow basket in the final minute.

    "It doesn't make a difference, whoever is on the court, we're going to make big plays to win the game, but in the end we all came together and we got this W."

    Richards said it was “crazy” in the locker room after the game — which is kind of how his up and down season has been.

    "I was just trying to play to the best of my ability. Coach KP (Kenny Payne), coach Tony Barbee, coach Cal, they all just sat me down and talked to me. I gotta start playing with more energy. My energy will take over the game. It's a big part of my game and you can see how better I am going through the game,” Richards said.

    Kevin Knox, who had a career-high 34 points, said teammates know Richards will keep fighting and that his confidence has not suffered.

    “He had a couple bad games, but the last two games, the last three games, he's playing really good. He's fighting for rebounds, tip-dunks and all that, and that's why he's in at the end of games because he's making big plays for us,” Knox said.

    “That big dunk at the end was really big for us. That got us kind of the final play to close the game. Just gotta keep playing hard and he'll keep playing good."
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Richards comes up big at crunch time for Wildcats started by Darrell KSR View original post
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. patrick54's Avatar
      patrick54 -
      Those 4 key free throws were huge. And of course the dunk.
    1. anderwt's Avatar
      anderwt -
      His free throws were huge..by March, hopefully the worst center ever label at UK will be gone
    1. Doc's Avatar
      Doc -
      He has the potential, always been there which is why he isn't the worse center ever at UK. His problem is lack of focus. Give him Wenyen energy level and desire, then you have a lottery pick. That label was typical over reaction, bit then some of the praise is over correction.
    1. Doc's Avatar
      Doc -
      Those who saw him in HS would agree that he would dominate a half or game and the next be absolutely a no show...and it seemed like it didn't matter. This was and continues to be my concern. You have to bring it every night and every minute of every game
    1. Catfan73's Avatar
      Catfan73 -
      Is it okay to give him an A lol? (I actually gave him a B for this game.)
    1. Doc's Avatar
      Doc -
      Quote Originally Posted by Catfan73 View Post
      Is it okay to give him an A lol? (I actually gave him a B for this game.)
      I wouldn't. B- is how I'd grade him. Got extra credit for late game effort and clutch FTs
    1. Catfan73's Avatar
      Catfan73 -
      Hopefully he can internalize this newfound motivation and carry it with him the rest of the way. We need him.
    1. KeithKSR's Avatar
      KeithKSR -
      Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
      I wouldn't. B- is how I'd grade him. Got extra credit for late game effort and clutch FTs
      He didn't play well in the first half at all.
    1. catmanjack's Avatar
      catmanjack -
      Glad he finally made a dunk!
    1. DanISSELisdaman's Avatar
      DanISSELisdaman -
      He does miss more wide open dunks than any 7 footer I ever saw. It's mind boggling how he can miss some of those.
    1. CitizenBBN's Avatar
      CitizenBBN -
      Quote Originally Posted by DanISSELisdaman View Post
      He does miss more wide open dunks than any 7 footer I ever saw. It's mind boggling how he can miss some of those.
      He has unsteady hands. Happens on dunks, passes, etc. Not strong with the ball at this point.

      He can get there, but it's a work in progress.