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UK Wildcats recap win over Troy

Nick Richards had his best outing of the young season and proved he can be a force in the paint.

NCAA Basketball: Utah Valley at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

After dominating for much of the game, the Kentucky Wildcats limped to the finish line with a 70-62 win over Troy on Monday.

The three players from the team that talked after the game were Nick Richards, Wenyen Gabriel, and Hamidou Diallo. It’s always good to see these guys elaborate on their play, along with giving some feedback on how Coach Cal is teaching them.

One common theme between all players was the fact that Cal has been really hard on them as of late. Wenyen specifically said Cal has taken a different approach with this years team vs last years team.

Nick easily had his best game of the season. He had eight points and grabbed eight boards. After the game he mentioned that he got his “swagger” back. If the Cats can continue to get help from Richard’s like this on a consistent basis, this team will be scary.

Overall, the players seemed satisfied with the win. However, they all made sure to say that they have a long way to go before they can be where they want to be. All season long, these guys have continued to push the fact that they’re learning every day and they love playing for Cal.

It’s only been a few weeks, but it seems like this team has the talent, skill, maturity, and discipline to be a legitimate contender.

Wenyen Gabriel

On how loud Calipari was in the second half of the game …

“He was loud. It was almost like he was in the Kansas game. He’s just trying to challenge us, he’s not focused on the game we’re in right now, it’s about how we’re playing. He doesn’t look at the scoreboard every minute.”

On if Calipari has been more aggressive this year …

“No, we definitely had our moments last year too. We didn’t start really picking it up until towards tournament time. That’s what happens when you have a lot of freshman out there and Cal tries to sit back and let us play, but sometimes he has to step up and put his foot down.”

On Calipari saying he has to teach them how to win and what that means to him …

“To you on the court it’s more like focusing on the team, just kind of blurring everything out and not worrying about media or anything like that. It’s worrying about winning during the game so when you get up a lot you don’t have to start worrying and do your own thing. You just have to stay focused and stick to the plan every minute.”

Hamidou Diallo

On Coach Calipari saying they played great for 20 minutes and having to fight through the next 20 minutes …

“I think we didn’t just have quite of a second half that we did in the first half. He definitely had to get us going, we had to refocus.”

On what was working in the first half that …

“We were just playing basketball to be honest with you. We were just playing, getting each other involved and just playing a lot of defense.”

On what happened at the end and if they took their foot off the pedal …

“I wouldn’t say take our foot off the pedal. (Troy) started hitting shots. They started hitting a lot of shots they weren’t hitting in the first half.”

On being active on both ends of the floor …

“I’m just trying to be energetic and contribute to the team. I’m trying to be energetic on both sides of the court.”

Nick Richards

On the big rebounding night …

“Coach has just been, the last couple of practices, really emphasizing rebounds to us. We just started practicing more rebounding, a lot of one-on-one offensive rebounds. Whoever gets the most rebounds wins. So I guess those practices really helped us tonight.”

On Cal’s comments of not being happy with second half …

“You could see in the game that we lost the second half. Guys including myself, we got a little comfortable in the game and we already thought that we had the game beat. With eight minutes left in the game we were up by 21, you know it’s just one of those things that we got to get over, got to finish games because we easily could have lost that game if it was any longer.”

On trying to learn how to finish games …

“It’s not hard to learn to finish games. This could be a good learning point for us because we should have beat Troy by 30 points but instead we won by eight, so it could be a good learning point for us.”