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John Calipari and Wildcats recap triumphant win in Athens

Kentucky is starting to become an elite defensive team.

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NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari knows a thing or two about producing great point guards. But freshman guard Ashton Hagans now stands alone as the only player in Kentucky Wildcats history to record three or more steals in six consecutive games after Tuesday night’s 69-49 win at Georgia on Tuesday night.

The Georgia native, who decommitted from the Bulldogs to play in Lexington, turned in his best performance of the season in front of a scorn crowd at Stegeman Coliseum with a career-high 23 points. Hagans also finished with five rebounds and four assists and has a staggering 25 steals in the last six games.

The Wildcats, 13-3 (3-1) used a balanced offensive attack that included 12 points from Tyler Herro and 10 points from P.J. Washington. Keldon Johnson, the team’s leading scorer, was scoreless for the first time in his UK career.

Georgia was dominant in the post to start the game and had four dunks over the first five minutes of play. The Bulldogs’ fifth dunk at the 14:11 mark gave the home team its biggest lead at 11-6. Kentucky took its first lead of the game on a Jemarl Baker three pointer at the 11:59 mark to give the Cats a 13-11 advantage.

With the game tied at 29-29, Hagans went to work, hitting a jumper just inside the three-point arc and scoring on a driving, left-handed lay-up to push the lead to 33-29 with 2:20 left in the half. A dunk and blocked shot on the other end by Nick Richards sent the Cats to the locker room with a 35-31 halftime lead.

The Wildcats dominated the second half as Hagans opened the scoring with a three-pointer and back-to-back lay-ups to extend the lead to 42-31. A deep three-pointer by Georgia would cut the lead to 47-39 with 12:50 remaining, but the Cats went on a 6-0 run that included a Hagans floater in the paint, a jump hook by Richards and a break out dunk by the Kentucky point guard to give the Cats a 53-39 advantage to seal the victory.

The No. 12 ranked Wildcats will travel to No. 14 Auburn on Saturday afternoon.

After the game, John Calipari and select players recapped what it meant to win on the road in the SEC. Here is the video recap of all postgame comments, courtesy of UK Athletics:

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