by Claire Ramsay
After a big win vs #1 Michigan State at Madison Square Gardens in the Champions Classic, UK basketball was coming into this game with momentum. The Colones of Eastern Kentucky University came to visit the Wildcats at Rupp Arena on Friday, November 8. As past UK teams have learned the hard way, you don’t take any team lightly.
Coming out with a big bang, this team took that knowledge of never playing like you’ve already won to heart.
UK started So. Ashton Hagans (UK G), So. Immanuel Quickley (UK G), Fr. Kahlil Whitney (UK F), GR. Nate Sestina (UK F), and Jr. Nick Richards (UK F).
The cats would take the colones on a 14-0 run before they got on the board at the 12:57 mark, keeping them scoreless through their first 15 possessions.
With a bit of an EKU run, they closed the gap to 37-23 with 2:38 left on the clock. Of course, UK wasn’t going to let them get any closer than that. To end the first half, the cats went on a 9-0 run making the score 46-25. Keeping EKU at 27.3% shooting. Quickley was the scoring leader going into the half with 10 points.
Coming into the second half, UK began its original starting line up and would go on a 10-0 making the score 60-28. On two separate occasions, the cats lead by 44 points with many point streaks inbetween.
So far, ball sharing has not been a problem for this wildcat basketball team. Seven players having nine points or more in the game with quite a few assists to boot. “That’s what we would like to have. I mean, you know, that means you’re passing the ball, I loved the fact we had 17 assists. But — or 18 turnovers, way too many, Tyrese had four at half. I said, What are you going to do, a double-double? 10 turnovers and 10 points? What are you doing? So, he didn’t have any in the second half,” said UK basketball head coach, John Calipari.
Richards would get his second double-double of his career with 21 points and 10 rebounds plus four blocked shots.
Sestina got his first double-double as a Wildcat with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Quickley ended the game with 16 points and five assists.
Hagans dominated on all spectrum’s of the game with 11 points, a career-high-tying 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.
As wildcats, both Keion Brooks Jr. and Whitney had their first double-figure scoring game with 11 points.
Final Score: UK 91 – EKU 49
Kentucky continues its eight-game home-stand on Tuesday, November 12 vs. Evansville. That game can be seen on the SEC Network.
Photo gallery by Austin Johnson/ACE
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