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Nick Richards says loss hurt more because “we actually played our hardest”

Nick Richards (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

This statement by Kentucky freshman center Nick Richards might offer the perfect perspective into UK’s season that has already produced seven losses after Tuesday’s 61-59 loss to Tennessee.

“It’s tougher for us because we actually played our hardest and it’s at home. You can’t really lose games at home. It’s heartbreaking,” Richards said.

Does that mean Richards doesn’t believe UK played its “hardest” in the previous six games? Were the other losses not that tough on the Cats?

“Coach talked about what we did wrong in the end,” Richards said about the postgame locker room. ” Guys were still trying to figure out what we were doing wrong.

“It was really quiet in there; this game really hurt us to be honest. It was just a learning lesson we just have to move forward on and get ready for the next game.”

Learning lesson? Wonder how many learning lessons it will take for UK to figure out what it takes to be more consistent?

“It’s just another game…just another learning process. Coach always tells us ‘it’s either you win or you learn’ so were just going to take this game as a learning opportunity, forget about it and get ready for Texas A&M this weekend,” Richards said.

“We fought. Guys were making shots. We played good defense throughout the entire game but we couldn’t find enough energy to get enough stops in the end. They made the shots and we didn’t make the shots, that was the result so we took the L. They made stops and we didn’t. That’s how it basically happened.”

So what happens now as UK prepares to play at Texas A&M Saturday night?

“Regroup as a team, get ready for practice. Of course, we have an off day tomorrow but were not taking this as a loss were taking this as a learning process,” Richards said Tuesday night.

Coach John Calipari was philosophical after the loss. He blamed himself for not taking a late timeout before UK turned the ball over twice.

“We had some guys not play great defensively, but they played well enough, we fought, we did some good stuff, we still had some turnovers that were unnecessary, but we’re on the right track now. If this is who we are, I’m feeling good.,” Calipari said.

“If you notice, we went to a little more grind it out basketball because of who we are. And that was a good defensive team and a good offensive team and we did — like I said, other than them making just about every free throw down the stretch, we did what we were supposed to.
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  1. Another thing you got to put in perspective is that SEC league about as balance it has been in years top to the bottom of the standings. Just because we have loss7 league games doesn’t mean this team isn’t trying.

    1. Now you are sounding like Cal. He said his team did everything they could to win the game. Really…2 starters 0 points and a lot of standing around. We have the biggest number of non-productive 5* players in the country.

      1. Mike all I can say don’t watch them anymore all you do complain about every thing. It’s not like we being thru this kind of a season before. Every major program goes this kind of bumpy season. I’m will cheer them on regardless. Go CATS!!!!

  2. the more these players talk the more they step all over the team first message. Coach Hall used to give all incoming players communications training, and interviewing training. I guess with one and dones, some thing must be sacrificed.

  3. Cal is too soft on this team. I like his stances in most cases, but he needs to show this team that they need to follow his instructions. Keep your hands up and move constantly to utilize your length. Laziness will not be tolerated by our best player. These players need to come together and time is running out. This may just be the team that never does. I hope that i am wrong! There are players who totally zone out, if their shot is not going down.

  4. I would like to see all these young men stay at UK for 3, 4 years, get tougher, stronger, and become team players, and then go on to get some revenge in the next season or two. The talent, while there, is not as dominant as other Calipari teams of the past. That said, this UK team could still be a dominant force when they all become team players. They could still go pro all in due time, and maybe even get a whole lot better as a player too. That probably will not happen in this “get rich quick” world we now see in college basketball. Education is now put on the back burner in favor of stocking the NBA rosters with a few, while others still leave the college game early and go play overseas, etc. or lanquish around in the developmental league trying to make a pro team some glad day. Been saying it since Calipari arrived at UK, the “one and done” scene is killing the college game IMO. especially for the fans. The argument has suddenly become louder from some UK fans this year since UK is not dominating the SEC, or nation for that matter, in basketball now. Also, other programs like Duke, etc. are beating Cal at his own game, in the recruiting wars now. Can Calipari take this bunch and mold them in a couple more years to a potential national champion? I doubt it. It is not his style. He seems more interested in putting guys in the NBA than putting banners on the rafters of Rupp.

  5. I think these young fellows are trying their hardest and maybe thinking too much about the plays. It seems they were looser at the beginning of the season. Some of Cal’s teams have gone through a spell midway through the season when they seem to lose confidence in their shooting. I was there and liked what I saw from the defense and not sure why Nick Richards said it was quiet, because Rupp was rockin” all night except for the last minute during the turnovers when the crowd was deflated, sad and disappointed. What you hear in Rupp on TV is not what’s happening in the arena. Even all the lower level was standing!

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