After coming off an impressive win last Saturday, the Cats were back in action today against the Georgia Bulldogs. Their second matchup this season and this month.
The fifteenth ranked team in the country, Kentucky Wildcats beat the Georgia Bulldogs in Rupp Arena, 89-79. Kentucky has now swept the Bulldogs for this season in a game according to Cal was heck of a game going in.
”This is a heck of a win,” says Kentucky head coach John Calipari about what this game means for the team. “Hard game because you beat them down there.”
Throughout the game, the unsung heroes were the ones that got the job done for the Cats, even in the crucial moments.
To start the game, the Cats went and took the lead early against the Bulldogs, 10-2. Player of the run, EJ Montgomery, yes, EJ Montgomery. His 4 points and three rebounds to start the game kept the momentum going for the Cats as they pushed to their biggest lead of the half to 10 points. Even being stuck in foul trouble in the first half, his presence was felt. Montgomery ended with 10 points 6 rebounds and 2 blocks.
With the start the Cats got from Montgomery, the duo off the bench of freshmen Johnny Juzang and Keion Brooks Jr. really gave life to this team in some crucial moments in the game where Georgia was threatening to close in the gap.
“He’s so good with the ball around the rim, getting it in with great hands,” says John Calipari on how much Brook’s presence means to this team. “I’m just proud of them.”
Both Juzang and Brooks combined for 14 points and 8 rebounds. The work especially for Brooks these past couple of games, has given him a role to this team. Cal in his post-game press conference expressed how Brooks has now stepped up by being the third big man.
“I just kept pushing through. I had some rough ones, just trying to get back together , just kept pushing through with my teammates,” says freshman forward Keion Brooks Jr, about gaining confidence when the light is on. “I have faith in them and the coaching staff believing in me.”
As the bench players kept going, it was another huge night for Nick Richards.
For Nick Richards, he was all over the offensive glass that gave Kentucky a lot of second chance points. Richards collected 8 rebounds in the game and scoring 20 points. The way Kentucky plays while Richards is on the floor these past couple of games has really been a sight to see for the junior big man. They are a totally different team when Richards is there down low.
Even with a lot of positive things coming out of this game, one thing really stood out the most for Cal about the development of this team this year.
”This team became empowered during that last game and now they think it’s about each other,” says Calipari.
Coach Calipari went on and said that his teams get player driven around February.
Something to look forward towards the next couple of weeks with big games on slate to see how this team responds.
The fifteenth ranked Cat’s next game will be the final non-conference game of the year as they travel to Lubbock, TX to play the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the SEC/BIG 12 challenge. That game will be on Saturday, at 6 PM eastern on ESPN.