By LARRY VAUGHT
Nick Richards didn’t make any excuses for Kentucky’s 66-64 loss to Florida Saturday night.
He didn’t mention the two shots Florida blocked in the final 10 seconds when UK fans thought fouls could have been called. Instead, he pointed the finger at the right spot.
“We actually did it to ourselves. We made certain plays that weren’t safe, threw the ball out of bounds trying to pass it to Hami (Diallo) in the backdoor. Me — I put myself in a bad position by not hustling for offensive rebounds. We basically dug ourselves into that hole,” the Kentucky freshman center said.
Richards had 8 points on 4-for-6 shooting, nine rebounds, two blocked shots and one assist in 20 minutes.
“I’m not really focusing on my personal goals in this. We lost. The only accomplishment I want is to win. It doesn’t matter if I play three minutes or 40 minuets, I just want to win,” Richards said.
Richards’ development has been viewed as a key to any potential success UK might have this season. He doesn’t see it that way.
“Everyone on this team is important. Everyone needs to know their roles. Everybody’s role on this team is important in order for us to win,” Richards said.
His play, though, did help UK play what Florida coach Mike White called “suffocating” defense, something no one has said before about this UK team.
“We just locked in on defense and tried to get shots. We focused on their 3-pointers; they made a couple in the first half so in the second half we tried to focus in on that a little bit more, but it wasn’t enough—that’s that,” Richards said.
“He’s getting better,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said about Richards. “You know, Sacha (Killeia-Jones) did some good things, too. They both did.”