Richards’ breakout game leads UK over Fort Wayne


Kentucky freshman forward Nick Richards shoots a basket during the game against Fort Wayne on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Chris Leach

Despite being challenged early, UK basketball was able to pull away from Fort Wayne in the second half to defeat the Mastodons 86-67.

Nick Richards would have his breakout game as a young Cat, scoring a career high 25 points while collecting 15 rebounds and two blocks. Richards also shot 7-7 from the free throw line

Both teams got off to a hot start, with UK hitting 80 percent of its shots through the first eight minutes of the game. Fort Wayne was shooting at a 50 percent clip through that same time span.

Fort Wayne challenged UK by hitting eight threes in the first half, five of which came in those first eight minutes. John Konchar hit three of those threes, and he wound up being Fort Wayne’s leading scorer of the game with 19 points.

Fort Wayne also capitalized on UK’s mistakes, turning the Cats’ 11 turnovers into 15 points. Fort Wayne’s largest lead in the first half was four at the midway mark. 

While Fort Wayne had success with the deep ball, UK got most of their points down low, scoring 24 points in the paint in the first half. There were eight lead changes in the first half, but near the end of the half, Fort Wayne started to miss their threes, which allowed Kentucky to stretch their lead to eight by halftime. 

In the second half, the Cats continued use their size to take advantage of Fort Wayne in the post. The Cats scored an additional 20 points in the paint in the second half, while out-rebounding the Mastodons 44-21 for the game. 

Fort Wayne’s shots weren’t falling as much as they were in the first half, which helped UK open up a big lead. The Cats’ largest lead was 30 at the 6:50 mark of the second half, which is the largest lead they’ve had all season. 

Richards would notch his double-double four minutes earlier after grabbing his tenth rebound. Richards would go on to score six more points and grab five more rebounds in the rest of the game. 

The Cats would outscore Fort Wayne 41-30 in the second half as they cruised to their fifth win of the season. Wenyen Gabriel also provided UK a boost in the post, scoring nine points while grabbing 10 rebounds. 

UK’s next opponent will be against University of Illinois-Chicago, and that game will take place at Rupp Arena on Nov 26. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.