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Nick Richards on what keyed UK’s defensive resurgence: “We just noticed that we hate losing.”

Kentucky’s defense just keeps getting better. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Ashton Hagans gets a lot of deserved credit for Kentucky’s resurgence on defense during its 10-game winning streak going into today’s game at Mississippi State.

“I bring an intensity on defense, but I wouldn’t say it’s just me,” Hagans said. “I think everybody is trying to get better on the defensive end.

“Tyler (Herro) made a big stride on the defensive end. As it goes along, Keldon (Johnson) is getting way better on the defensive end. We’re all there for each other, knowing that we’re going to go out there and fight for each other. As the season goes along, the defense is going to get better.”

That’s a big-time attitude to make sure he gives others credit without taking a lot for himself. Teammates appreciate that — and he’s also right that it takes more than one player to have a good defensive team.

“It’s fun to me because once you get the steal, you’re going to have a lob, a fast break layup or something like that,” Hagans said. “I just love playing defense, getting into somebody’s body and just being aggressive.”

Sophomore Nick Richards said it’s not secret why everyone finally bought in on defense after UK’s loss at Alabama.

“We just noticed that we hate losing,” Richards said. “Everybody on this team just loves winning, so we just gotta do whatever it takes to win.

“We just figured out that defense is one of the most important things that we gotta do.”

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