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Tom Crean: “Nick Richards changed the game.”

Nick Richards knew Kentucky was No. 1. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Here is Georgia coach Tom Crean’s opening comment after his team’s loss to Kentucky Tuesday night as well a little bit more he had to say about Nick Richards, who only played eight minutes the first half but then returned to help UK outscore Georgia 47-32 in the second half.

COACH CREAN: First and foremost, our first half was very much like we wanted it to be, and defensively we were doing a good job on the glass. And our defense was creating some offense for us.

And in the second half we just weren’t nearly as good on the glass. They outrebounded us by 11 in the second half. Points off turnovers got us. And it had a lot to do with Nick Richards. And we don’t have a matchup for Nick Richards. And we didn’t do a great job on a lot of their guys, but Nick Richards changed the game.

We know when he plays well, they play well. And that’s exactly what happened tonight. And we just weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be on the glass. And we knew going into this game — at least I knew going into this game, when it comes to the level of physicality, when it comes to the level of speed, when it comes to the level of aggressiveness, it should be unlike anything we had played at this point, and it was.

And we’ve just got to learn how to compete better on the glass. And I think there were times in the second half we let our offense — it was good at times, but I think we let that offense get us a little quiet in the second half, and then we weren’t nearly as good as what we wanted our defensive coverages to be.

And we got a little too loose, got a little too disconnected from our man, and they made us pay. And then when it’s going like that and they’re aggressive, that’s where the rebounding changed on us.

Q. The players, when they were in here, talked a lot about a lack of communication on the court and how that was a big problem particularly in the second half —
COACH CREAN: Yeah, we got quiet defensively. We were not nearly as good in the way we wanted our coverages to be. And we weren’t as aggressive with them. And it got a little quiet.

I think we got — they were just more aggressive than we were, and we didn’t keep the same level that we had in the first half. And I think with young teams — and they didn’t have this drought tonight.

They didn’t have as good a first half because they didn’t have Nick Richards in. And they had a much better second half because Nick Richards was in. I mean, he’s playing at a very high level right now. We had some scoring but didn’t have a lot of scoring. And I think with young teams especially they start thinking about the last shot or the next shot more than they think about the next stop. And that’s something you have to deal with — and youth.

And I think some of that happened tonight. And I think some of that happens when you don’t have that catalyst on the defensive end that’s setting the tone and setting the table for everybody else. And when the communication’s not coming from all five, it’s still got to get propelled by a couple of guys, and I don’t think we had that as much in the second half.

2 comments

  1. Nick is working his way to a 1st round draft pick. He made at least 3 plays in this game that he could not have made last year or even last month, The touch pass AND 1 play from EJ was nothing short of amazing. Neither one of those guys could do that last year. That would have been a turnover.

    As I have said before all those who have dislike the one and done system should be all in for Nick, Ashton, Quickly and EJ. They are not one and done and they are getting better right before our eyes. Yes EJ is getting better. He had 6 rebounds last night and several were in traffic. Something he has rarely done. Sometimes getting better is baby steps. And the touch pass was beautiful.

    Also people should stop beating up the other freshman that are taking more time than they expect to be ready. Having those guys back next year will be good for us and them. Anyone that says Cal doesn’t develop players is nuts. The proof is happening right before your eyes. I think this team can be special by March. Closing out games with 3 guards Nick and Nate will be hard to beat especially with the way all 3 guards have been playing defense lately. Just my opinion.

    GO BLUE OR STAY HOME

  2. Excellent post IMHO. When Nick’s head is in the game, we’re tough to beat. I’m enjoying the usual annual process that we go through each year with inexperienced players. It’s painful at times, but Cal seems to get it done by Big Dance Time-then it’s up to fate…Go Cats!

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