The Kentucky Wildcats have completed their first of four exhibition games in the Bahamas.
It came in the form of an 85-61 win over the Bahamas National Team that was really closer than the final score indicated.
The Cats stormed out of the gates with a 13-0 run and looked in complete control. But the Bahamas Team battled back and made it more of an even split for the rest of the first half, cutting the lead to a single possession on several occasions.
The Bahamas Team even took a lead early in the second half, and it would stay fairly close until the Cats finished with a big run in the final 10 minutes to put the game out of reach.
At the end of the day, the Cats showed plenty of promise, but they also looked like a team breaking in five new players, four of which are freshman. And Kentucky shot 2/20 from deep, yet still won by 24 points.
There’s a ton to love about this team and where it will be in March.
What about Nick Richards?
The sophomore big man already looks night and day different from his so-so freshman season, where it was painfully evident far too often that Richards just didn’t believe in himself.
That’s not the case in the Bahamas, as Richards stormed out of the gate with 10 points and a block in the first six minutes of the game, giving the Cats some early separation. He actually had 14 of Kentucky’s first 29 points and was the only reason Kentucky was ahead in the first half.
And Richards did it with a variety of offensive moves, including a mid-range jumper, hook shots and dunks in transition. He kept it going into the second half and finished with a game-high 19 points go with three rebounds and two blocks.
John Calipari has said time and time again that Richards can become a lottery pick. The way he looked early in this one, we’re starting to see that player come to fruition.