The Kentucky Wildcats got an unexpected challenge from VMI on Sunday night. The Keydets knocked down 19 three pointers to make the game closer than most expected. Thank goodness Quade Green came up clutch when it counted.
Green did not start the game on Sunday night, but he sure finished it. Green finished 5-of-10 from the field including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. The sophomore totaled 17 points with 3 rebounds and 2 assists and even made a key defensive play and pass in crunch time:
Steal by Quade Green leads to the Keldon Johnson punch. pic.twitter.com/yj58vEIzTE— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) November 10, 2018
This marked the second time in three games in which the sophomore guard stepped up in a close second-half game. Green shook off the shock the loss to the Duke Blue Devils with a 14-point outing against Southern Illinois, 10 of which coming in the second half as Kentucky trailed by as many as seven. He shot 50% from the field in that contest as well and knocked down a pair of triples.
After scoring just 6 points in the Cats win over North Dakota last week, it was refreshing to see Green return to form with another clutch performance, especially considering the lack of help he received from the other members of the UK backcourt.
Immanuel Quickley got the start at the point and went 0-of-4 from the floor. Tyler Herro wasn’t much better, going only 2-for-6 and scoring just 5 points. Ashton Hagans, like Green, came off the bench, but offensively was ineffective. Hagans scored just 5 points, but did have 4 assists.
The night belonged to the big boys upfront (Reid Travis and PJ Washington) and Green on the perimeter. UK was neck and neck with VMI for the first 10-plus minutes of the game, but pulled away as the half came to a close and took a 14-point halftime lead.
Unfortunately, that lead wasn’t intimidating enough to keep VMI from clawing back. The Keydets brought their A-game in the second half and closed the gap to as few as 8 points with just under 4 minutes left.
Timely 3 pointer by Quade Green. pic.twitter.com/a3ebEOHP0J— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) November 19, 2018
Green then hit a midrange jumper to put the Cats up by 10. But, once again VMI climbed back into the game and closed to within 7 points. It took a three-pointer by Green with 1:27 left to put the Wildcats up by double digits and put the game on ice.
This game belonged to the experienced trio of Washington, Travis, and Green, with the Philadelphia-native knocking down big shots when John Calipari and the Cats needed them the most.
This is a great sign for a Kentucky team that, one of the biggest question marks with was who would take those clutch shots in crunch time. Thus far, Green has been able to answer the call.