Kentucky junior Nick Richards scored seven points in overtime, including two free throws with 27.4 seconds remaining as the Wildcats closed out the decade with a 78-70 win over rival Louisville.
Tyrese Maxey had a game-high 27 points and was 4-for-5 from three-point range. Immanuel Quickley finished with 18 points, while Richards had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Kentucky had a chance to win at the end of regulation as Keion Brooks just missed a tip in off a Tyrese Maxey runner in the lane as time expired.
In overtime, Louisville drew first blood as Dwayne Sutton hit a three-pointer to give the Cardinals a 64-61 lead. An Ashton Hagans free throw and Quickley three pointer gave UK the lead at 65-64. But Louisville climbed back to take a 68-65 lead on a three by Jordan Nwora.
That’s when Richards took over after getting an offensive rebound and stick back that resulted in a traditional three-point play to tie game at 68-68. After the Cardinals missed two free throws, Richards again scored in the post as Kentucky and Louisville traded baskets to a 70-70 tie. The Wildcats would then score the game’s final eight points, capped by an Ashton Hagans steal and dunk to seal the victory.
There's no doubt that Richards came up big for the Cats in overtime and Quickley was rock solid from the free throw line, connecting on 8-for-8 for the game. But it was Maxey that gets MVP honors as the freshman guard lives for the big moment and was a sniper against the Cards, scoring 27 points and coming up huge in a half-court offense.
Kentucky’s dribble drive offense looked more in sync after Christmas break as Maxey was in constant motion and coming up multiple screens for better scoring opportunities. He also was active on the defensive end and finished with seven rebounds.
The Wildcats, 9-3, begins SEC play on January 4th against Missouri at Rupp Arena.