Saturday’s Big 12-SEC Challenge matchup marked a battle of two top 25 teams, as Kentucky entered the day ranked 15th, while Texas Tech sat at 18th.
Texas Tech is the defending NCAA Tournament runner-ups, but they’ve been in a major rebuilding since losing much of that roster, including eventual lottery pick Jarrett Culver.
Even so, this proved to be a massive, gut-check test for the young Wildcats, as it took 45 minutes to decide the game, but Kentucky escaped with a 76-74 victory.
Nick Richards led the way with 25 points and 14 boards, while Immanuel Quickley chipped in 21. Richards hit the go-ahead free throws with 10 seconds left, and Ashton Hagans forced a steal on the other end to clinch the two-point win.
Up next, the Cats return to Rupp Arena for a matchup with Vanderbilt on Wednesday.
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