The Cats came out firing on all cylinders in this one before slowing down a bit before half. At the break, UK held a 36-27 lead over the Aggies.
They never looked back as they took control in the second half to continue the narrative that Kentucky is just simply better on the road.
Why? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s small sample size. Maybe it’s something to do with feeding off the crowd energy. Regardless, Kentucky once again looked excellent in a hostile environment.
Next up, Kentucky will return to Lexington on Saturday afternoon to hopefully avenge an earlier loss to the Auburn Tigers.
Hagans returned to the starting five
After a brief one game absence from the starting five due to injury, Ashton Hagans returned to it tonight.
As I’m sure you all remember, Hagans was questionable all last week going into Saturday with a thigh bruise. Johnny Juzang earned his second-career start as a result and Hagans didn’t start for the first time in 55 straight games.
His big-time slam over Texas A&M big man Josh Nebo put any doubt about his injury to rest.
The rest of the starting lineup remained the same as it has for several weeks now.
Montgomery came to play
EJ Montgomery played as well as I’ve seen him play since he’s been at Kentucky. The sophomore forward absolutely worked his butt off tonight.
He scores efficiently, rebounded extremely well, especially on the offensive end, and defended at a high level.
If Kentucky gets the EJ they got tonight, watch out, America. I’d bet on the marbles on the Cats come March.
It was an impressive performance and, hopefully, a sign of better things to come. This time next year, we might be saying #PickEJ for SEC Player of the Year. It was only a matter of time.
Defense was excellent
A&M isn’t a good offensive team, but for the nth time this season, a team was playing its best basketball coming into the game with the Cats.
For the Aggies, that meant that they had lit up the scoreboard in three straight despite being one of the worst offensive teams in the entire country.
Well, that streak ended tonight because UK put on the clamps. This team is excellent on the defensive end of the floor. If they can shore up the offensive rebound opportunities, they can be elite on at that end.
Brooks and Juzang were no shows
Keion Brooks and Juzang were no shows tonight. The difference: Juzang got time, Brooks didn’t.
I’m not sure why, but Brooks didn’t play at all tonight. He’s inconsistent and awkward at times, but seeing him get no run tonight was a bit concerning.
As for Juzang, his no show was self-imposed. He got time early in the game, but he failed to take advantage.
Besides throwing up bricks, Juzang also struggled on the defensive end. For guys like him, minutes are hard to come by when the shots aren’t falling.
Quickley showed out because...of course
Immanuel Quickley has been on an absolute tear over the last few weeks and tonight was no different.
The frontrunner for SEC Player of the year was lights out tonight in College Station. Quickley had it all going for him in this one.
Whether it be that smooth three-point stroke or the impeccable floater, IQ showed the country what he was capable of.
Seriously, why isn’t this guy on draft boards? Couple his offense with his super defense and you’ve got one heck of a modern day NBA player. Quickley has taken his game to a whole new level.
Enjoy the ride, BBN.
Kentucky looked excellent tonight in a hostile road environment on “T-Shirt Night.” Nothing new to see here.
Hopefully, this time they won’t fall in the NET rankings or KenPom, but that remains to be seen. Regardless, UK is looking like one of the best tans in the country right now and they’re peaking at the right time.
What was doubt and frustration just a few short weeks ago has become confidence and trust in this squad to pull out the win.
Let’s keep it going. Go Cats!