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UK Wildcats recap win over Virginia Tech

Knox, Green and Hami recap their big win over the Hokies.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

You’ll be shocked to hear that freshman are once again leading the way for the Kentucky Wildcats.

But on Saturday, it meant a little more to see these young Cats outlast a veteran-led Hokies squad hoping to score one of the biggest wins of their collegiate careers.

Not this time. Freshman wing Kevin Knox scored 21 points, 11 of which coming in a frantic spurt early in the second half. Freshman guard Quade Green poured in 17 on 6-of-12 shooting with five assists.

Redshirt freshman guard Hamidou Diallo added 20, including a big 3-pointer with 50 seconds remaining, and the Cats held on for a 93-86 win over Virginia Tech.

After the game, those three Cats recapped the big win and what it means going forward. Here’s a recap of what they had to say, courtesy of UK Athletics:

Kevin Knox

On Quade Green wearing glasses in the game…

“It was funny today. He’s practiced the last couple of days with them on. He was knocking down shots, so I guess he can see with them on.”

On the team’s shooting performance …

“At the beginning of the season I knew we weren’t a horrible shooting team. We weren’t the best, but I know we’ve got guys that can knock them down. Tonight we showed that we can really knock shots down. We’re getting really better at it. We do a lot of shooting drills in practices, and just getting better at it and hopefully guys can keep knocking them down.”

On defending Virginia Tech’s 3-point shooting …

“I think in the second half Cal said they hit like three 3-point shots or something like that. We just stuck it out on defense, found the shooters. I think No. 13 knocked a lot of them down, so we found him in the second half. We fixed that at halftime, got in the second half and defended it better.”

On Coach Cal’s encouragement of long range shooting …

“He tells us that he really wants us to shoot around 18 to 19 3s a game. That’s kind of our number. He doesn’t want us to shoot anywhere in the high 20s or anything that like. That’s not where our strength is. I mean, 18 or 19, he said make around eight or nine, that’s a good percentage as a team. Of course we’re getting to the basket still, so he’s kind of challenging us to make some jump shots and tonight we showed that we can.”

Hamidou Diallo

On what’s he’s been doing to be able to have high-scoring performances…

“Just coming in everyday, working hard and buying into what the team needs us to do. That’s what we did today and we came out with a victory.”

On having to change the game plan today with such a good 3-point shooting team…

“It was big. They hit a couple shots in the beginning, a couple momentum 3s. That’s just mind-blowing. The type of defense we were playing, and they were still making 3s. We just had to adjust coming in halftime, and second half we did a really good job.”

On winning a game with opposing team shooting 58 percent...

“I think we were just aggressive. We were playing aggressive and never gave up. That’s what it was all about. There were times in the game when we were down, stayed with each other and we just kept competing.”

Quade Green

On playing with his protective glasses …

“I’m not worried about that. I just played my game. Doesn’t matter what I’ve got on. I could have “Timbs” on- boots on- I’m still gonna play my game.”

His comments on opinions regarding this game being the best of the season …

“Oh, it was the best game for us as a whole, really. Kinda had to have toughness. It was a good game because Virginia Tech came out firing. It was hot from the 3-point line. It’s just another thing we gotta do and understand that we’re all together. Ain’t no one-to-one stuff. We all gotta win as one.”

On what the team learned in this game…

“That we’re tough, very tough. We can survive late situations.”