The Kentucky Wildcats had to battle back to win, but they were able to walk away with a 71-59 victory over the Southern Illinois Salukis. The Wildcats were led in scoring by Keldon Johnson and Immanuel Quickley with 15 each, and Nick Richards owned the glass with 19 rebounds.
Kentucky took a narrow 31-28 lead into the half and trailed by as many as seven in the second half before surging ahead for good. The Wildcats were very sloppy, giving away 19 turnovers and allowing the Salukis to get open looks throughout the game.
However, a win is a win. Kentucky certainly found a way to win in the midst of an ugly performance. Hopefully they figured a few things out along the way and can take a step forward next week against North Dakota.
No question here. Sophomore Nick Richards was the only guy playing with any heart in the first half, finishing the opening period with 12 rebounds. He would go on to finish the game with 19 rebounds, 9 of which were on the offensive end.
Richards’ 19 boards tied the Calipari-era record for most rebounds in a game. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist also pulled down 19 against the Louisville Cardinals in 2011.
Richards also scored 8 points, many of them off of offensive rebounds. With Reid Travis in foul trouble and PJ Washington playing like Freshman Nick Richards, Richards really stepped up to keep the Cats in the game when they could not find a bucket.