Lexington, Ky. — Nick Richards did whatever heavy lifting No. 19 Kentucky needed against rival Louisville, intensity that put him on the brink of fouling out.
He eventually harnessed his energy into clutch contributions on both ends of the floor and celebrated big stops in the Wildcats’ much-needed victory by punching the air.
Richards had 13 points, including seven in a row in overtime, and Kentucky scored the final eight points for a 78-70 victory over No. 3 Louisville on Saturday in a thrilling Bluegrass rivalry showdown.
Louisville led 68-65 on Jordan Nwora’s 3-pointer with 2:20 left before Richards converted a 3-point play and added a layup to make it 70-68 with 1:23 remaining. The junior forward added two more foul shots for a 72-70 lead before Immanuel Quickley and Tyrese Maxey provided a six-point cushion from the line. Ashton Hagans’ dunk with 4.9 seconds left sealed the tense win for the Wildcats (9-3) before 20,437 at Rupp Arena.
“I just played smarter,” said Richards, who also had 10 rebounds, a block and took a couple of charges in the extra session. “I noticed that when they were driving on me they were lowering their shoulders on me, so I just tried to take charges on those.
Ï was really happy that they called those charges. If he (the official) had called a block, I don’t know what would have happened.”
While Richards provided the post presence, Maxey helped out with big baskets.
The freshman guard’s free throws capped a career-best 27-point performance that topped his previous high by one in his collegiate debut against top-ranked Michigan State. For a while he seemed destined for all the praise with clutch shots during a back-and-forth second half before his teammate picked up the load in the extra session.
“I was just saying, ‘we’re good,’” said Maxey, who made 9 of 14 shots with four 3-pointers. “Trailing by three points with two minutes left, we had a lot of time and lot of possessions. We just had to get stops.”
The overtime was the first in a regular-season game between the schools and the first since Louisville won 80-68 on March 26, 1983 in the NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats ended a two-game losing streak in which Utah and Ohio State both shot 50% or better against them in Las Vegas. Quickley had 18 points for Kentucky, which shot 46% for its 11th win over Louisville in 13 meetings.
“This was a great win for us,” Wildcats coach John Calipari said.
Steven Enoch had 18 points and Dwayne Sutton 10 for the Cardinals (11-2). Louisville shot just 40% and made just 3 of 9 in overtime. The Cards were also dreadful from the line, making just 9 of 20.
“If we ring the bell from the free-throw line, I think the game is different,” coach Chris Mack said. “You could probably pick out a few plays down the stretch or overtime. Make a few of those maybe the ending is different.
More Top 25
(At) No. 4 Duke 75, Brown 50: Vernon Carey Jr. scored 19 points to help Duke beat Brown on a day when the Blue Devils’ jump shots rarely fell.
Alex O’Connell added 14 points and Wendell Moore Jr. had 10 points for Duke (11-1) in its final nonconference game of the regular season.
The Blue Devils took the lead for good with an 11-1 run midway through the first half and pulled away late in the second half with an 18-2 spurt.
The Blue Devils won their fifth consecutive game, all by at least 12 points, since their 150-game home winning streak against nonconference opponents ended against Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 26.
Brandon Anderson scored 16 points to lead Brown (5-6) in its third consecutive loss. The Bears trailed 35-29 at halftime.
(At) No. 9 Memphis 97, New Orleans 55: Precious Achiuwa had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Lester Quinones added 13 points as Memphis built a huge first-half lead and easily beat New Orleans.
Quinones, who returned after missing the previous five games with a broken right hand, made all three of his 3-point shots as Memphis (11-1) extended its winning streak to nine. Tyler Harris finished with 11 points, while DJ Jeffries and Isaiah Maurice added 10 points each.
Troy Green led the Privateers with 22 points while Bryson Robinson added 15 as New Orleans (4-8) lost its third straight.
(At) No. 12 Butler 67, Louisiana-Monroe 36: Derrik Smits scored 16 points off the bench to lead Butler to a victory over the Louisiana-Monroe.
Bryce Nze had 10 points and seven rebounds and Sean McDermott scored 10 points for the Bulldogs (12-1), who have won three in a row.
Josh Nicholas had 12 points while Michael Ertel, JD Wiliams and Elijah Ifejeh each scored five points for the Warhawks (4-7), who have lost five straight games.
Butler started the second half on a 13-2 run to build the lead to 28 points.
Nze scored back-to-back baskets and Bryce Golden scored twice. Smits’ layup with 13:02 remaining to make it 46-18.
(At) No. 15 San Diego State 73, Cal Poly 57: Malachi Flynn scored 14 points and No. 15 San Diego State overcame a slow start to beat and continue its best start nine seasons and remain one of three undefeated teams nationally.
Yanni Wetzell and Jordan Schakel added 12 points apiece for the Aztecs (13-0). They needed a 9-0 run at the end of the first half to take control against the scrappy Mustangs (2-11).
SDSU remains on its hottest start since 2010-11, when it opened 20-0 behind Kawhi Leonard and reached the Sweet 16 for the first time before finishing 34-3. SDSU, Auburn and Liberty are the nation’s only undefeated teams.
After leading just 31-23 at halftime, SDSU opened it up early in the first half. Flynn hit two long 3-pointers, including one that banked in, and KJ Feagin also hit a shot from behind the arc. Wetzell made three close-in shots to help the Aztecs take a 50-31 lead.
SDSU shot just 41.7%.
Kyle Colvin scored 13 points and Junior Ballard had 12 for the Mustangs. Alimamy Koroma had 12 rebounds.
(At) No. 17 Florida State 88, North Alabama 71: Malik Osborne scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half as Florida State cruised to a win over North Alabama.
Balsa Koprivica added 13 points while Trent Forrest had 10 points and six assists for Florida State (11-2), which has won seven of its games by 10 or more points.
The Seminoles made 16 of 23 (69%) of their shots from inside the 3-point arc in the first half en route to a 47-26 lead at the break.
Jamari Blackmon scored 15 points and Christian Agnew added 12 points and eight rebounds for North Alabama (5-8).
Florida State made 17 of 17 free-throw attempts. The Seminoles were averaging 75 percent from the free-throw line coming into the game.