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New Nick Richards leads Kentucky to exhibition win

Tyler Herro (Chet White/UK Athletics)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Before Kentucky played its first exhibition game in the Bahamas Wednesday night, SEC Network analyst Seth Greenberg shared his feelings about John Calipari’s team.

“Kentucky is Final Four good, national championship good,” said Greenberg. “This game is a fact-finding mission to see how they react. This is their starting point, not the ending point.”

Kentucky raced to a 13-0 lead but actually fell behind 44-43 in the second half before regrouping and winning 85-61 behind 19 points and seven rebounds from sophomore Nick Richards.

“He’s not the same player,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said about Richards after the game.

Freshman Tyler Herro had 16 points while freshman Keldon Johnson had 11 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore P.J. Washington had 10 points and six rebounds while E.J. Montgomery had eight points and six boards.

Freshman guard Ashton Hagans had three first-half steal, five rebounds and seven points while freshman guard Immanuel Quickley had five points, five rebounds and four assists.

Transfer Reid Travis had just four points but grabbed 14 rebounds.

“Reid has just gone to work on the interior here. Everybody else is getting a little tired and he just goes to work,” SEC Network analyst Dan Dakich said during the second half,

Quade Green had five assists and five steals but just two points. He was 0-for-6 on 3-pointers.

Overall UK was just 2-for-20 from 3-point range — and remember this is a team John Calipari believes will be a much better shooting team. Quickley hit UK’s first 3-point try of the game and then Brad Calipari hit the last one.

Herro was 0-for-3 from 3-point range while Johnson and Washington were both 0-for-2.

3 comments

  1. Very proud of the way Nick came out and played especially offensively and hope that is confidence builder for him. We couldn’t make 3’s again and missed a lot of shots at the rim but still not too shabby for first game. Disappointed in Green and Washington for returning players. Green, Quickley, and Johnson a collective 5-33, and we hopefully will not see that again. Herro already one of my favorites followed closely by Johnson, Hagans, and Montgomery..can’t wait for tomorrow night. Hopefully, it will be a breakout night for Reid.

    1. He was great Mike

  2. It was obvious Richards had a lot of potential last year but he had trouble with fouls and with hanging onto the ball. He looked MUCH better with the ball and that was with a defense packing the middle because the outside shooting wasn’t there. Remember too that he didn’t play all that many minutes and still got a lot of points. I told my wife he could be KAT good before all is said and done. Remember, Karl didn’t start out being the great player he turned out to be. Sometimes it takes a while to develop and some are slower than others.

    I was hoping to see better shooting from the outside. Herro looks to be a player. So does Johnson. And let’s not forget the Cats are still missing a shooter in Baker.

    There is so much potential on this team it’s crazy. Finding the right formula for how to use that talent is going to be a real challenge. I don’t think anyone has ever been better at that than Cal. And the younger Cal looked like a player too BTW.

    I think they had the first game jitters. I hope they get past that quick because the competition is going to get much better fast.

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