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Nate Sestina comes up big in victory over Texas Tech

The redshirt senior played a key role in the Cats’ victory in Lubbock.

Kentucky v Texas Tech Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

The Kentucky Wildcats picked up a crucial 76-74 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders Saturday, and graduate transfer Nate Sestina was a big reason why.

Ever since Sestina’s 17 point performance against Ohio State on Dec. 21, the veteran has struggled leading to John Calipari only giving him six minutes of playing time in Kentucky’s Jan. 21st victory over Georgia.

Needing a big night, Sestina broke through Saturday as he scored eight points after shooting 2/4 from behind the arc and 3/6 overall.

Sestina also had a key pass in the final 10 minutes that set up a big three-pointer by Johnny Juzang:

The forward also added three rebounds and recorded a steal in the victory. He fouled out in overtime after a very controversial moving screen call, the second Saturday in a row in which the Cats suffered one late in a road win.

With Kahlil Whitney gone, the Wildcats are going to need Sestina to emerge as Kentucky’s third frontcourt option off the bench.

Some nights, the Cats may even need Sestina to be the second option behind Nick Richards as EJ Montgomery has struggled mightily at times this season.

With a clutch performance Saturday, there’s more confidence that Sestina can be that guy.