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“Nick Richards changed the game,” says Tom Crean

Dale Zanine | USA TODAY Sports

Dale Zanine | USA TODAY Sports

New game, same impact for Nick Richards.

In this one, Richards’ second-half return from foul trouble carried the Cats back from a six-point halftime deficit, all the way to a nine-point win in the first true road game of the year. Richards scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds in the second half alone, when Kentucky outscored Georgia, 47-32.

Tom Crean was quick to point out what changed after halftime.

“They out-rebounded us by 11 in the second half, points off turnovers got us — and a lot of that had to do with Nick Richards,” Crean explained in his postgame press conference. “We don’t have a matchup for Nick Richards. 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.”

If not for foul trouble, Richards likely would’ve notched his seventh double-double of the season; instead, settled for 17 points and seven rebounds in his 25 minutes played.

Crean would add, “They didn’t have as good a first half because they didn’t have Nick Richards in. They had a much better half because Nick Richards was in. He’s playing at a very high level right now.”

As for John Calipari’s thoughts on his star big man, he said after the game, “(Nick)’s getting better. He started playing basketball when he was fourteen, so it’s taking him more time, but who cares how long it takes? It’s the point of, can I get to the point where I’m a significant player? And he is now.”

Some might say Richards is Kentucky’s most significant player.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

4 Comments for “Nick Richards changed the game,” says Tom Crean

  1. Aar
    6:47 am January 8, 2020 Permalink

    Still a charter member of the Nick Richards Fan Club. He needs to listen to his coach and stop “wrestling” with other bigs. At least he needs to keep his arms low when doing so. Half of his fouls last night were cheap fouls from UGA’s “bigs” moving their heads into his elbow when he needlessly had his arms up when needlessly bodying them up. Love the fight but get better at it and learn when to do it. We need you in the game big fella! UGA isn’t celebrating after 20 minutes and Cats win by 20 if Richards plays 5-10 more minutes.

  2. dan1965
    7:47 am January 8, 2020 Permalink

    Glad to see Nick coming along,He’s continuing to improve and becoming a lot more aggressive,something I hope he continues to do.
    I think he needs to get better catching and holding onto the ball at times,continue to be aggressive,fight for position but he smart and not to aggressive and baited by other teams bigs into fouling,or getting taunted,smack talked and taken out of the game.
    Last thing,and he did great at it tonight,learn to play with foul trouble.
    If Nick continues to improve I see the Cats having a high ceiling,and Nicks NBA future with $$$ lol

  3. Dark Soul
    8:41 am January 8, 2020 Permalink

    Who wouldve thought that nick would be one of the most important players on this team?

  4. EdC
    9:18 am January 8, 2020 Permalink

    It feels like Nick finally believes in himself. I am a little surprised that Crean knew Nick made a difference. I guess it’s never too late to learn.