The Kentucky Wildcats pulled away in the second half to defeat the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 67-53. It was ugly throughout, and important players from both teams had forgettable performances. But the Wildcats’ veterans stepped up to bring home the victory.
Ashton Hagans led the way with 21 points, and he and Tyrese Maxey pulled down the most rebounds with seven. Immanuel Quickley tied his career high with 16 points. And while he was not as sharp today, Nick Richards still ended the day with 12 points and four blocks.
At the end of the day, you take this win and move on to the next. Every victory is not going to be pretty. There is a lot from this film to build on, and plenty to learn from before going to Las Vegas next week.
Nick Richards played well enough defensively to be named MVP of this game. Keion Brooks, in his limited minutes, looked like a potential MVP. Immanuel Quickley was as solid as anyone. But, when it comes down to it, there was no option other than Ashton Hagans.
Hagans finished the game with 21 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and two steals. However, more important than his stat line was his composure and his leadership. Even went the Yellow Jackets jumped ahead, Hagans never got rattled. He looked the part of a veteran point guard.
In order for this team to go to the next level, a lot of things have to happen. Richards and EJ Montgomery have to continue to develop, all scholarship guys need to stay healthy, and Tyrese Maxey needs to regain his star power.
But absolutely none of those things matter if Hagans cannot be a poised, focused leader at the point guard position. He’s the key to this team.