Saturday’s Kentucky 78-70 win over Louisville had special meaning for Wildcats freshman Tyrese Maxey.
Not only was Maxey named game MVP by scoring a carer high 27 points on 9/14 shooting and grabbing seven rebounds, but he put together the remarkable performance in front of his father.
Maxey’s father has been recovering from an undisclosed illness, and Saturday was his first trip to Rupp Arena to watch his son play for the Wildcats.
“I am very excited. It was my dad’s first game (this season) and it was an amazing feeling to see them over there (in the stands),” Maxey said after the game. “My mom, sisters and uncle are here also. It felt amazing, I can’t wait to spend time with them.”
Back in November, after Maxey’s breakout game in the Champions Classic, Kyle Tucker of The Athletic spoke to Maxey’s mother Denyse about her son’s performance.
“It’s very special, It is a gift to his dad, because his dad has been at every single game his entire life, and to not be able to be here tonight for one as important as this … it was really tough. It was terrible.”
On Saturday, Maxey was able to replicate that performance on an even bigger stage with his father in attendance. It was also one of the best performances a Wildcat has ever had vs. the Cardinals:
Most points by a Wildcat in a win over Louisville since 1983:— TheCatsPause247 (@TheCatsPause247) December 29, 2019
30, Tony Delk (1995)
27, Tyrese Maxey (2019)
27, Jamal Mashburn (1992)
26, John Pelphrey (1991)
26, Rex Chapman (1986)
25, Brandon Knight (2010)
25, Rajon Rondo (2005)
25, Patrick Sparks (2004)
24, Tyler Herro (2018)
Those 27 points were also a school record for points by a UK freshman vs. Louisville. It turned out to be a late Christmas gift for Maxey and the Wildcats as they lost two games in Las Vegas last week, then rebounded with arguably their biggest win of the season by beating the Cardinals.
“Great Christmas gift. Proud of my guys. We came back on Christmas morning. By Christmas night, we were practicing. It was worth it though, we got the W. Everyone played well. Now I’m ready to get in the lab for Mizzou.”