Kentucky bigs a bright spot in Transy win


Sophomore forward Nick Richards prepares to shoot a free throw during the game against Transylvania on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Kentucky’s bigs certainly were an upside in their 94-66 win over Transylvania— a game in which the Cats shot just 7.7 percent from the three.

With Nick Richards, Reid Travis and P.J. Washington all in the starting lineup, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Cats out-rebounded Transy 52-18. The difference in size between the two teams gave the Cats an advantage as well, but Travis said that it’s also an adjustment his team had to make and it helped them get better.

 “They are smaller guards and at times they had a lot of guys in there that could drive it and shoot it at the same time,” Travis said. “So it just helped us on our defense where you’re not just banging in the post with maybe a seven-footer, but you have to step out and move around with those guys a lot more.”

Travis was a force for Kentucky as he earned a double-double in the win, the only Wildcat to do so, with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Kentucky head coach John Calipari liked what he saw out of the graduate student.

“He rebounded the ball. He had a double-double. You know, if we could have that out of him every game we play, it’s a pretty good night,” Calipari said. “He’s physical. He talks on defense. He played good.”

Travis said he goes onto the court wanting to bring energy for his team, getting good touches and good boards. He says energy, rebounding and defense are three things he should be able to bring every night.

Richards, Travis and Washington, who are all 6-foot-8 or taller, combined for 37 points and 25 rebounds. Washington saidhis team has been practicing that lineup a lot in practice.

“I really like that lineup. I feel like us three can rebound the ball really well, and then we have two shooters with us as well, so I mean it’s a great lineup I think,” Washington said.

Calipari was pleased with the way Washington performed in Friday’s exhibition, saying the sophomore went into the second half and did exactly what was expected of him, like getting offensive rebounds and extra baskets. Washington says there are several things his team did well, but also things to improve on.

“I feel like we attacked the lane really well, we got our bigs involved, we shared the ball really well,” Washington said of his team’s positives. “Then I feel like we could’ve worked on our on-ball defense a lot more.”

The Cats are set to play next on Nov. 2 at 7 pm against Indiana University of Pennsylvania.