Kentucky defeated Georgia Tech 67-53 to improve to 8-1 on the season in the Cats’ first game against a power five opponent since facing Michigan State in the season-opener.
The Cats’ once again relied upon the great play of sophomore point guard Ashton Hagans, who finished with a team-high 21 points on 8-10 shooting, along with seven assists and a career-high tying seven rebounds.
“He knows what to expect,” UK Coach Calipari said talking about how Hagans’ ability to plan for a game. “He has no anxiety about what he’s doing.”
Georgia Tech Head Coach Josh Pastner also was very complimentary of Ashton Hagans, saying, “He was a first-round pick the way he played tonight.”
Along with Hagans, Kentucky also got great play from sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley, who finished with a career-high tying 16 points on 6-12 shooting, but he feels there is still room to grow.
“Honestly I feel like I’ve been playing good, I feel like I could play better though, especially with leadership and defensively,” Quickley said.
Forward Keion Brooks Jr. who was actively all over the court, scoring 10 points on 4-7 shooting while adding four rebounds, was also a key factor in Kentucky’s win today.
“He’s a skilled basketball player,” UK Coach Calipari said of Brooks. “I was proud of him.”
While Nick Richards finished with an efficient 12 points on 5-6 shooting along with four rebounds and blocks to add on to his performance for the game, UK Coach Calipari still thinks he should be playing at a much higher level and fighting much harder, a lot like he was at the beginning of the season.
“I want him to be the best big man in the country,” Calipari said of Richards. “If you’ll fight and play on a team that plays together, he could be the best big man in the country.”
While Kentucky has had its faults to go along with some shiny moments, not just in the game tonight, but for the season in general, UK Coach Calipari still believes they are making strides he wants to see out of a team in this stage of the season, and that they will only continue to make strides as the competition gets tougher if they fight and finish, his motto for the season so far.
“How we finish games is going to be vital because we’re going to be in a bunch of close games,” Calipari said.
Kentucky will next travel to Las Vegas where they will face Pac-12 opponent Utah on Wednesday, and then one of the best-playing teams in the country, Ohio State.