It wasn’t pretty and a lot closer at times than we wanted it to be, but the Kentucky Wildcats bounced back from their embarrassing loss to Evansville and beat Utah Valley, 82-74.
The Cats, who fell to No. 9 in the polls earlier today, now improve to 3-1 with Mt. Saint Mary’s coming to town on Friday night.
Here are five things that went right in the game.
Nick Richards Abdul-Jabbar
After having a great game against EKU, Nick Richards struggled mightily last Tuesday against Evansville. Tonight, he showed us what we like to see.
Richards had 21 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and blocked a shot.
A.W. Hamilton, the coach of EKU, said that if Nick Richards plays like this consistently, Kentucky will win the national championship. Don’t know if that still stands, but the Cats definitely will need Richards to average a double-double if they want to win.
Ashton Hagans balled
After struggling in the first three games of the season, Ashton Hagans didn’t hit snooze and balled.
Hagans set a season high of 26 points, which will be hard for him to top. He also grabbed five rebounds and dished out five assists.
Before the season, Hagans claimed that he had worked really hard on his three-point shooting. He was 0-2 tonight, but if he can start hitting those, lookout.
One of the big keys to this season will be rebounding and after losing the rebounding battle to Evansville, 38-35, the Cats dominated the glass today, winning the battle 46-27.
Nate Sestina led the way with 12 rebounds and Nick Richards was close behind with 10. Whitney, Maxey, and Hagans each had five rebounds.
The Cats shot 34 free-throws and hit 31 of them. If they keep that up, they will be hard to beat.
Kentucky only shot 12 threes and hit one of them. One way to negate that? Hit your free-throws.
It’s a win
This sounds dumb and obvious, but after the dreadful loss we all witnessed last Tuesday night, we needed some positivity. A win is a win.
Kentucky was up 16 at one point and the Wolverines came all the way back to cut it to one, but the Cats battled and got a much needed win. I don’t care, just win the game.